Two Louisiana men were sentenced in the 34th District Court of Louisiana in St. Bernard Parish for commercial fishing violations on June 27.
Shawn C. Thompson, 47, and James H. Williams, 53, both of Port Sulphur, pleaded not guilty for possessing an excess of 15 percent of non-living cultch material on state seed grounds. A third subject, Andrew Duplessis, 40, of Davant, failed to appear in court.
The honorable Judge Darren Roy found both Thompson and Williams guilty and sentenced each to pay a $500 fine plus court costs. A bench warrant was issued for Duplessis for failing to appear.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents and biologists were performing commercial fish inspections on the Three Mile Pass State Seed Ground in St. Bernard Parish on Oct. 29, 2018 when they came into contact with the three men. The LDWF agents and biologists determined the three men harvesting oysters were in possession of an excess of over 15 percent of non-living cultch material.
LDWF agents instructed the subjects to return the oysters and cultch back into the water, however the subjects refused to cooperate. Agents were able to obtain an arrest warrant and arrested the three men on Nov. 5, 2018 in St. Bernard Parish for possessing over 15 percent of non-living cultch material on state seed grounds.
The harvest of seed oysters from a Public Oyster Seed Ground or reservation shall be for the purpose of moving the live oyster resource. The removal of more than 15 percent of non-living reef material in bedding loads is prohibited.