Oyster harvesters have one less obstacle to overcome after the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission removed the limit on the number of permits issued at any one time for Calcasieu Lake.
The change was one of several rule changes approved by the commission Monday. Fishermen will still have to travel to Baton Rouge to get their permits, which are required for commercial oyster harvesting.
According to a press release issued Monday, the permits are still free. Qualifications for receiving a permit are now the same for all applicants.
The move comes after a rough time for some harvesters. Only 126 permits were issued in 2011, which stirred a controversy between fishermen and state officials.
Earlier this year, State Senator Blade Morrish sponsored a bill to lift that limit.
The following is a press release from the Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries:
July 2, 2012 – Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved several rule changes concerning Calcasieu Lake Oyster Harvester Permits as required by Act 541 of the 2012 Louisiana Legislative Session.
The changes include the removal of the limitation on the number of permits the Louisiana Department of Wildlife Fisheries (LDWF) can issue at any one time. In addition, the qualifications for obtaining a permit are now the same for all permit applicants, which include holding current and valid commercial fisherman oyster harvester licenses.
The permit remains free of charge and is a requirement for anyone seeking to commercially harvest oysters in Calcasieu Lake. Permits will now be issued on a calendar year basis and will be valid for one year. Initial application for a permit must be made at the LDWF point of sale windows in Baton Rouge.
Harvest vessels in Calcasieu Lake are required to have the permit onboard the vessel at all times while commercially harvesting oysters.
Public comments on the proposed rule will be accepted until August 20, 2012. Comments may be submitted to Patrick Banks, Office of Fisheries, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000 or via email to email@example.com.