Enforcement agents with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries cited nine people in five separate boats for alleged shrimping violations on Aug. 8 and 9 in Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes.
According to a press release, Robert M. Buras, 50, of Venice, Carey O’Neil, 49, of Buras, Jeffery Buras, 57, of Hazelhurst, Miss., Philip David Jr., 50, and Joseph Billiot, 56, both of Marrero, Jeffery Billiot Jr., 29, of Laplace, and Derek Perez, 39, of Laffite, were cited for using skimmers during a closed shrimp season. Agents allegedly located them in the late night hours of Aug. 8 actively using skimmers during the closed season in Bay Long in Plaquemines Parish in Zone 2.
Agents also cited Lindy Lebouef, 77, of St. Bernard, and Elward Perez Jr., 51, of Violet, for using skimmers during a closed shrimp season. Agents allegedly found them in the early morning hours on Aug. 9 actively using skimmers in Drum Bay in St. Bernard Parish in Zone 1.
A total of 3,422 pounds of shrimp were seized from all vessels involved and sold to the highest bidder, the release states
Both Zone 1 and Zone 2 have been closed to shrimping since June, and are not set to reopen until next Friday, Aug. 18.
Using skimmers in a closed season carries up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail plus forfeiture of anything seized.
In addition, for the first conviction of shrimping during the closed season, the court may revoke or suspend the violator's trawl, skimmer, or butterfly gear licenses for one year from the date of the conviction. During such revocation or suspension, the violator may be present on a vessel harvesting or possessing shrimp or possessing a trawl, skimmer, or butterfly net only if the vessel is equipped with and employs an operating vessel monitoring system which is accessible to LDWF. The violator may also have to perform 40 hours of community service, according to the release.