Under a potential oyster transplanting program, licensed Louisiana oyster harvesters may be permitted to move oysters from the public oyster seed grounds located in Lake Borgne and Mississippi Sound (LDHH harvest areas 1 and 2), and transplant them to their private leases for later harvest. This potential program would be for the purpose of moving live oyster resource from restricted areas of the public oyster seed grounds to private leases. It is part of an initiative by both the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to provide additional harvest opportunities for the Louisiana oyster industry and to remove live oyster resource from the outfall area of the Bonnet Carre’ Spillway in the event that the spillway is determined to be a direct threat to the oyster resource. The Secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has the authority to close the oyster season in this area if excessive amounts of non-living reef material are found in the oyster loads that are being transplanted.
The two state agencies allow such transplants on a permit-only basis, and will only allow the transplant if the oyster season in this area of the public oyster seed grounds is reopened. Permit applications will be accepted from January 12, 2016 through January 22, 2016 at 628 N. 4th Street, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The transplant permit fee is $100 and a performance bond of $5,000 must accompany the transplant application. Oyster fishermen who are granted permits may be allowed to transplant during daylight hours between February 1, 2016 and February 14, 2016 only, and each transplant vessel must be under the direct supervision of a commissioned officer. All costs associated with the commissioned officer are the responsibility of the person securing the permit. Incomplete applications will be rejected.
The oysters that are transplanted must remain on the lease until written approval for market harvest is obtained from LDHH. No part of any lease on which shellfish have been transplanted may be utilized for direct market harvesting during this period. Shellfish taken for transplanting purposes shall not be laid down within 500 feet of any adjoining lease where shellfish may be taken for sale as food during the active period of the transplant.
Oyster fishermen who receive permits may be allowed to transplant oysters taken from the public oyster seed grounds in Lake Borgne and Mississippi Sound only to a lease pre-approved by the Department of Health and Hospitals. A map identifying the lease where the oysters to be transplanted will be bedded must accompany each permit application.
Applications for transplant permits may be obtained between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, from Gordon LeBlanc or Christopher Lemaire, Department of Health and Hospitals, Commercial Seafood Program, 628 N. 4th Street , Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70821. Phone: 225-342-7539 or 225-342-7540.