Drone Surveillance Leads to Oyster Fishing Violations

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited four subjects for alleged oyster fishing violations on Aug. 19 in Lafourche Parish.

Agents cited Sandra Reyes-Vasquez, 47, of Larose; Marvin Hernandez, 17, of Larose; Wilmer A. Perez, 37, of Larose; and Javier Garcia, 62, of Paradis; for taking oysters from an unapproved area.

Using aerial surveillance from a drone, agents observed and recorded these four subjects taking oysters from an area deemed polluted by the Louisiana Department of Health. Agents made contact with the subjects in two vessels and found them in possession of five sacks of oysters at least a mile inside of the closed area.

LDWF agents began utilizing drones for aerial surveillance on oyster patrols in March of 2018.

Taking oysters from an unapproved polluted area brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. The men could also face having their oyster harvester licenses revoked by LDWF for up to one year. The violators could also be sentenced to perform 40 hours of community service and only be allowed to harvest oysters from a vessel that is equipped with a vessel monitoring device for up to one year.

Agents participating in the case are Capt. Bryan Marie, Sgt. Michael Garrity, and Corporal Brett Nabors.