Belle Chasse Man Cited for Commercial Oyster Violations

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited a Belle Chasse man for alleged oyster violations on April 13 in Plaquemines Parish.

Agents cited Shane Shelley, 38, for improperly filling out oyster tags, violation of the state’s sanitation code as it pertains to keeping adequate records on sight with the oysters, failure to maintain trip tickets and adulterating and misbranding seafood.

Agents conducted a commercial seafood inspection at Shelley’s business in Port Sulphur on March 30. When agents arrived they found 33 mini sacks and 11 whole sacks of oysters outdoors and not under refrigeration. The mini sacks were void of any harvester tags indicating where they were harvested from, harvester information and date of harvest. There were also no Department of Health log sheets on site showing the intentions of the oysters’ consumption.

After further investigation, agents determined the business was removing oysters from sacks that were already tagged and intended for shucking purposes by a certified shucker. Then re-sacking them into smaller sacks and tagging them for raw consumption.

The harvester information was also changed by falsely indicating Shelley being the harvester of the oysters when someone else harvested them. Agents found 52 mini sacks manipulated in a cooler on site.

All the oysters were considered adulterated since agents could not determine where they were harvested from, if proper refrigeration measures taken place for safe public consumption, or what harvester took the oysters.

Failing to fill out oyster tags properly and failing to maintain records brings up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail. Misbranding or adulterating seafood carries up to a $750 fine and 15 to 30 days in jail. Violation of the state sanitation codes carries up to a $25 fine and forfeiture of anything seized to the department.

Agents seized and destroyed a total of 85 mini sacks of oysters and 11 whole sacks of oysters as per department policy.

Agents participating in this case are Lt. Adam Young, Senior Agent Austin Landry and Corporal Thomas Forehand. The case will be forwarded to District Attorney Charles Ballay for prosecution.