The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will open a portion of the public oyster seed grounds east of the Mississippi River and north of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) within Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH) Harvest Areas 3 and 4 at one half-hour before sunrise on November 14, 2016. Information collected by LDWF biologists indicates harvestable seed and market oyster resources are present within a portion of this area.
The Lake Borgne/Mississippi Sound area, as defined below, will remain closed until further notice due to extensive oyster mortality observed throughout the area and to protect a recent spat set. Closure of this area is expected to increase the likelihood of spat survival and facilitate resource recovery. The protection of remaining oyster resource is in the long-term best interest of the public oyster seed grounds in this area.
The Lake Borgne/Mississippi Sound area, which is generally that area of LDHH Harvest Areas 1 and 2, is defined as the area north and west of the following coordinates:
30 degrees 04 minutes 44.58 seconds north
89 degrees 29 minutes 00.30 seconds west
30 degrees 03 minutes 08.43 seconds north
89 degrees 25 minutes 56.44 seconds west
30 degrees 02 minutes 59.01 seconds north
89 degrees 24 minutes 08.00 seconds west
30 degrees 03 minutes 14.99 seconds north
89 degrees 21 minutes 17.94 seconds west
30 degrees 04 minutes 21.28 seconds north
89 degrees 18 minutes 22.58 seconds west
30 degrees 05 minutes 33.01 seconds north
89 degrees 18 minutes 09.22 seconds west
30 degrees 09 minutes 25.35 seconds north
89 degrees 11 minutes 07.45 seconds west
30 degrees 11 minutes 00.56 seconds north
89 degrees 07 minutes 48.31 seconds west
Drum Bay is designated as a sacking-only area and restricted to harvest for market sales only, and is that portion of the public grounds west of a line running generally north/south of a point at 29 degrees 55 minutes 39.50 seconds N latitude, 89 degrees 14 minutes 18.57 seconds W longitude to a point at 29 degrees 52 minutes 33.25 seconds N latitude, 89 degrees 14 minutes and 11.95 seconds W longitude.
As a reminder, additional public oyster areas that will also be opening on November 14, 2016, as originally scheduled include the Hackberry Bay Public Oyster Seed Reservation in the Barataria basin and the American Bay/Bay Long Sacking-only Area east of the Mississippi River. Hackberry Bay shall close to harvest of seed oysters for bedding purposes at one half-hour after sunset on Monday, November 14, 2016, but will remain open for the harvest of oysters for market sales until further notice.
Closure dates are determined by LDWF Secretary Melancon on an “as needed” basis, based on biological and harvest data, or if enforcement issues are encountered. The Secretary is also authorized by the Commission to take emergency action to reopen areas previously closed if the threat to the resource has ended and to open public areas if substantial oyster resources are located.
Public notice of any opening, delay or closure of a season will be provided at least 72 hours in advance, unless such closure is ordered by LDHH for public health concerns.