The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission determines the 2023-2024 oyster season
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission determined the 2023-2024 oyster season based on an annual assessment of oyster stocks provided by biologists at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and feedback from members of the public, including the oyster industry.
The following dates have been set for the next oyster season:
- Lake Calcasieu’s public oyster precinct will only open to unload market-sized oysters: West Bay will open half an hour before sunrise on Sunday, October 15, 2023, and East Bay will open half an hour before sunrise on Monday, January 1, 2024.
- Public Oyster Seed Grounds to be Opened to Sister Lake State Reservations, Vermilion/East and West Côte Blanche Bay/Atchafalaya Bay, Public Oyster Seed Grounds Bedding items only Half an hour before sunrise Monday 09 October 2023and it will be closed half an hour after sunset on the same day.
- A public oyster seed ground to reserve oyster seed at Lake Sister as described in RS 56:434 shall be open to receive Market oysters plundered For direct sale half an hour before sunrise Tuesday 10th October 2023, and the market oyster harvest is approaching half an hour after sunset on Monday 30th October 2023..
- Bay Garden State Oyster Preserve, Vermilion/East, West Cote Blanche Bay/Atchafalaya Bay, Public Oyster Seed Territory, including all areas east of the Mississippi River, Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) Oyster Harvest Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 will open To expel market sized oysters only Half an hour before sunrise Monday, November 13, 2023, and ends at exactly the same timeHalf an hour after sunset on Monday, April 1, 2024 (or if biological data indicates that harvest levels have been met).
During the 2023-24 oyster season, the following provisions will apply:
- Any vessel from which any person is taking or attempting to take oysters from the public oyster seed lands and the reservations described above must be limited to a daily limit of 30 bags of oysters per vessel, with the exception of Lake Calcasieu. Calcasieu Lake’s daily limits shall not exceed 15 bags of oysters per vessel per day in aggregate between West Cove and the east side, with no more than 5 bags coming in from the east side per day. The holding limit must be twice the daily limit for public oyster seed lands and reserves east of the Mississippi River, as described in Louisiana Administrative Code (LAC) LAC 76:VII.511 and LAC 76:VII.513, Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) Oyster Harvesting Areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Daily Limits and Possession Limits for Public Oyster Seed Reservations in Sister Lake Public as set forth in RS 56:434, Vermilion/East and West Cote Public Oyster Seed Lands must not exceed Bay Blanche/Atchafalaya Bay 30 bags of oysters per ship per day. The oyster bag for the purposes of this emergency declaration is defined by the size described in RS 56:440. If bags smaller than the size prescribed in RS 56:440 are used, the daily harvest and holding limit shall be based on the number of bags used, not bag size or other measures. The daily take-and-hold limit does not apply to vessels harvesting oyster seed for bedding purposes. The possession limit does not apply to vessels operating under a valid shellfish cargo vessel permit, and such vessels may not fish for shellfish.
- All vessels harvesting at public oyster seed lands open on Monday, October 09, 2023 must harvest oyster seed for bedding purposes only and may not contain bags or other containers normally used to hold oysters on board the harvesting vessel, with the exception of Lake Calcasieu.
- A ship is limited to harvesting market oysters for direct sale (discharging) or harvesting oyster seed for bedding on any one day and is specifically prohibited from doing both.
- If any person on board takes or attempts to take oysters from the public oyster areas, seed areas or reserves described above, all oysters on that ship will be deemed to have been taken from said seed areas or reserves from the time harvest commences until all oysters are unloaded onto the dock .
- Oyster seed is harvested from public or protected oyster seed grounds for the purpose of transporting live oyster resources. It is forbidden to remove more than 15 percent of the non-living coral reef material contained in bed loads. All ships must allow onboard inspection and sampling of oyster seed by biologists and/or agents of the LDWF.
- All oysters harvested from public places, seed areas or reserves for marketing must be uncontaminated, sealed and not perforated.
- All oysters harvested from communal areas, seed areas, or preserves for the purpose of market sales must measure at least 3 inches from hinge to bill.
- Market oysters harvested from any public oyster area (including Calcasieu Lake), seed ground or reserve must be plundered, the number of bags recorded in the log book, and each bag properly marked before leaving said public oyster area, or seed ground , or reservation except for bedding containers.
- All vessels in public oyster areas, seed areas or reserves during those times between half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise all oyster scrapers must be unrestricted.
- Oyster scrapers are prohibited in Lake Calcasieu. Oyster harvesting is limited to the use of manual tongs on oyster harvesting vessels, or to manual collection. Shellfish tongs are made as a gripping device consisting of two pieces connected by a pivot or scissors-like hinge used to catch objects.
- Each vessel harvesting oysters from the Oyster Resources Public Oyster Resource Areas must report harvest information to the LDWF before 9pm each catch day. Ships must provide the following information: captain’s name, oyster harvester number, vessel number, total number of bags harvested that day, total seed drums removed, and harvesting area of LDH caught. Electronic reports will be submitted through the electronic reporting application via smart phones. The ER application is supported by both internal control Department And android. Anglers will need to download the app from these links at Apple Store or Google Play Store Then create an account using email. The registration page requires the name, commercial fishing license number and type of license to register. Once the account is created, the fisherman will add their vessels. The following link will soon contain instructions for using the e-reporting application: https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/oyster-e-reporting. A call option is still available to submit harvest reports at 1-800-442-2511. This report does not replace reporting flight tickets.
The following areas will remain closed For the entire 2023-24 Oysters season:
1. Hackberry Bay, Lake Mishant and South Bay State Oyster Seed Sanctuary as described in RS 56:434.
2. Drum Bay Treatment Plant 2022 with the following coordinates:
29° 53′ 24.837″, -89° 17′ 08.500″
29° 53′ 50.990″, -89° 16′ 30.541″
29° 54′ 12.658″, -89° 16′ 43.889″
29° 53′ 55.360″, -89° 17′ 30.601″
29° 52′ 32.400″, -89° 19′ 18.340″
29° 52′ 36.238″, -89° 18′ 40.818″
29° 53′ 07.579″, -89° 19′ 36.541″
29° 53′ 18.409″, -89° 19′ 07.703″
Improved Drum Bay SOS
29° 52′ 50.471″, -89° 16′ 38.502″
29° 52′ 54.871″, -89° 16′ 25.121″
29° 52′ 49.018″, -89° 16′ 21.173″
29° 52′ 44.382″, -89° 16′ 34.559″
3. Public lands for oyster seed in Tambor Lake, Shin Lake, Felicity Lake, Deep Lake and Barataria Bay as described in LAC 76:7:517.
4. Public oyster seed lands in Little Lake as described in LAC 76:VII.521.
5. Calcasio Lake 2023 treatment plant, with the following coordinates:
2023 Calcasieu Lake Breeding Station
29° 50′ 31.761″, -93° 18′ 42.243″
29° 50′ 20.951″, -93° 18′ 44.229″
29° 50′ 29.153″, -93° 18′ 21.044″
29° 50′ 18.585″, -93° 18′ 21.352″
6. Harvesting of shellfish is prohibited in the Sabine Lake public oyster area as described in RS 56:435.1.
7. Artificial coral reefs in Calcasieu Lagoon with the following coordinates:
29° 53′ 16.5″N, 93° 16′ 56.9″W
29° 53′ 16.4″N, 93° 16′ 34.8″W
29° 52′ 57.2″N, 93° 16′ 34.7″W
29° 52′ 57.2″N, 93° 16′ 56.8″W
The Managing Secretary is authorized by the Committee to set closing times and adjust bag limits and/or bag areas solely based on biological harvest data or if enforcement issues are encountered. The Minister is also empowered to take emergency action to close or reopen previously closed areas if the threat to the resource has passed, and to open public areas if large shellfish resources are found.
Public notice of any season opening, delay, or closure will be given at least 72 hours prior to such action, unless such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health for public reasons.
|East of MS River, North of MRGO (sack only)||Opens November 13, 2023 (closes April 1, 2024)||30 bags/ship/day*|
|East of MS River, south of MRGO (sack only)||Opens November 13, 2023 (closes April 1, 2024)||30 bags/ship/day*|
|Lake Sister, Vermillion/East-West Côte Blanche Bay/Atchafalaya Bay, National Oyster Seed Grounds – Bedding Only||It will open on October 9, 2023
(just one day)
|No more than 15% of non-living matter is allowed in bedding loads.|
|Sister Lake – dismissal||It will open on October 10, 2023
(closes Oct 30, 2023)
(taking and possessing)
|Vermilion/East-West Côte Blanche Bay/Atchafalaya Bay Public Oyster Seed Grounds – Banishment||It will open on November 13, 2023
(closes April 1, 2024)
(taking and possessing)
|Hackberry Bay, Mishant Lake, Bay Junup State Oyster Seed Sanctuary, Tambor Lake, Shane Lake, Felicity Lake, Deep Lake, Barataria, Little Lake||Closed off season||Closed off season|
|It will open on October 15, 2023||15 bags/ship/day
(taking and having)**
|It will open on January 1, 2024||5 bags/ship/day
(taking and having)**
* The possession limit is twice the daily limit.
**No more than 15 bags of oysters per vessel per day for the entire Calcasieu Lake. No scrapers: tweezers or hand only
For additional maps for the 2023-2024 oyster season, click here.
For more information, contact Robert Caballero at firstname.lastname@example.org or 504-286-4054.