Three men cited for oyster injuries in St Bernard Parish

Law enforcement officials from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries subpoenaed three men Jan. 30 for alleged oyster injuries in St. Bernard Parish.

Agents cited Michael K. Shaw, 52, Olvera Terrazas Javier, 36, of San Leon, Texas, and Luis Archaga, 28, of Chalmette, for taking oysters at illegal times. The ship’s captain, Shaw, was also subpoenaed for two violations of the state’s Oyster Health Code for not completing his Department of Health logbook and not having a waste container on board the ship, improper running lights and failure to comply with the personal flotation device requirements fulfill.

The agents were responding to complaints from local tenant farmers about illegal oyster dredging activities at Bay Eloi. Agents documented the ship in thick fog dredging for oysters at 5:46 a.m. with no navigation lights on.

When agents stopped the ship, they found 10 mini-bags of oysters without the required Department of Health logbook detailing what the oysters were used for and no onboard waste container for human waste.

Fishing for oysters from this state’s natural reefs and for private stray reasons between half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise is prohibited. During these hours, all scrapers must be unleashed, disconnected, or in such a state that it can be easily determined by an LDWF agent that they have not been used recently. Subjects were dredging 40 minutes before legal harvest when stopped.

Oyster dredging while working illegal hours can be punishable by a fine of up to $950 and 120 days in prison. Violation of the state health code carries a $25 fine for each count and loss of product. Improper chases and failure to comply with PFD requirements will result in a fine of up to $50 for each violation.

Agents physically seized two dredgers and returned the oysters to the water.

The case is being referred to District Attorney Perry Nicosia for prosecution. Case agents are Corporal Blaine Wagner and Agent Heather Fitzgerald.

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