The following is a news release from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries:
March 22, 2011 - Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham issued an emergency order to close the oyster season in the east side of Calcasieu Lake (DHH Harvest Area 29) at one-half hour after sunset on Friday, March 25, 2011.
The season was previously set by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission to remain open until April 30, 2011, except for the 2009 cultch plant, but the commission gave authority for an early closure to Secretary Barham in order to protect and conserve the public oyster resource.
LDWF Office of Fisheries biologists have monitored the health of the public oyster resource throughout the oyster season, which opened on November 15, 2010, through biological sampling and harvest tracking. LDWF monitoring activities have determined that the public oyster resources have sustained heavy harvest pressure and continued harvest may threaten the long-term sustainability of the remaining oyster resources.
Within the past week, LDWF enforcement agents have encountered numerous oyster harvesting violations within harvest area 29. As a result, agents have seized oysters and fishing equipment.
An early closure of these public oyster seed grounds will help protect the remaining oyster resources and help sustain that resource for the future. This early closure is being announced in order to provide the oyster industry with as much prior notice as possible.
The west side of the Calcasieu Lake public oyster area (DHH Harvest Area 30) is scheduled to remain open to the harvest of oysters until April 30, 2011.