Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited two men for alleged oyster violations on Dec. 29 in Plaquemines Parish.
Agents cited Nelson C. Williams III, 45, and James Garrison, 39, both of Port Sulphur, for taking oysters from a polluted area. Williams was also cited for a log book violation and oyster vessel sanitation violation.
Agents were on patrol in the area of Two Sisters Bayou and utilized a drone for aerial surveillance when they observed a vessel with two occupants actively dredging for oysters in a polluted area.
The agents maneuvered their vessel to the area and found Williams III and Garrison dredging oysters in a closed area for pollution by the Department of Health and Hospitals. Agents also found that Williams falsified his DHH log book for oysters and his vessel did not meet sanitation standards for an oyster vessel.
Agents seized five sacks of oysters and also placed Williams’ vessel and dredge under a court ordered seizure order.
LDWF agents began utilizing drones for aerial surveillance video 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. Violating log book and vessel sanitation requirements brings a $25 fine and loss of product.
This is Williams’ fifth offense for taking oysters from a polluted area. For a third or subsequent violation, the violator’s oyster harvester license shall be revoked, and no new such license shall be issued for 10 years from the date of the third or subsequent conviction. In addition, the violator shall be sentenced to perform no less than 120 hours of community service. If available, the hours shall be served in a litter abatement community service program. During the period in which the violator is prohibited from possession of an oyster harvester license for a third or subsequent violation, the violator shall not be present on a vessel harvesting or processing oysters.
The case will be forwarded to District Attorney Charles Ballay for prosecution.
Agents participating in the case are Lieutenant Adam Young and Corporal Thomas Forehand.