Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited a Houma man for alleged oyster fishing violations on April 15 in Terrebonne Parish.
Agents cited Jonah Dehart, 39, for oyster fishing without a commercial fishing license, taking commercial fish without a gear license, taking oysters without an oyster harvester license, violating log book requirements, operating a vessel with improper running lights, taking oysters during a closed season on the Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation, harvesting oysters during illegal hours and using an illegal dredge.
Agents were patrolling the Sister Lake Seed Reservation when they observed Dehart activing dredging for oysters with no running lights around 4:15 a.m. on April 15. Agents stopped the vessel and found Dehart in possession of five sacks of freshly taken oysters.
Agents also found that Dehart was fishing for oysters without the proper licenses and with an illegal dredge.
The Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation is closed for the entire 2018-19 oyster season.
The agents seized the dredge and returned the oysters to the seed ground. Agents also seized the vessel on a department seizure order.
Taking oysters during a closed season brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. Taking oysters during illegal hours and without an oyster harvester license each carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense. Not possessing a commercial fishing license and a commercial gear license each brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for each offense. Using an illegal dredge carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail. Operating a vessel at night without running lights brings up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.