The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will re-open a portion of the public oyster seed grounds east of the Mississippi River and north of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) within Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH) Harvest Areas 3 and 4 at one-half hour before sunrise on January 31, 2017. Daily take and possession limit has been reduced from 50 sacks to 20 sacks of oysters per vessel. It is expected that this reduced sack limit will reduce the threat to the oyster resources in this area compared to previous harvest levels and these areas can withstand continued, limited harvest.
LDWF reminds oyster harvesters that the Lake Borgne/Mississippi Sound area, which is generally the area of LDHH Harvest Areas 1 and 2, will remain closed until further notice due to extensive oyster mortality observed throughout the area and to protect a recent spat set. Closure of this area is expected to increase the likelihood of spat survival and facilitate resource recovery. The protection of remaining oyster resource is in the long-term best interest of the public oyster seed grounds in this area.
Closure dates are determined by the LDWF Secretary Montoucet on an “as needed” basis, based on biological and harvest data, or if enforcement issues are encountered. The Secretary is also authorized by the Commission to take emergency action to reopen areas previously closed if the threat to the resource has ended, and to open public areas if substantial oyster resources are located.
Public notice of any opening, delay or closure of a season will be provided at least 72 hours in advance, unless such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for public health concerns.
To view maps related to this action visit: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/commerical-oyster-seasons