Three men were recently cited by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents for alleged oyster and boating safety violations in Bayou Stephan in Plaquemines Parish, according to a press release.
Agents cited John Phillipe, 32, and Patrick Sylve, 25, both of Port Sulphur, and Jean Taylor, 32, of Sparta, Tenn., for harvesting oysters during illegal hours, unlawfully removing oysters from a private lease, failing to have written permission and violation of the emergency fishery closure still in effect from the BP oil spill.
Agents allegedly witnessed the men harvesting oysters from a lease near Port Sulphur that did not belong to them under the cover of darkness after legal sunset, according to LDWF.
In addition, Phillipe, the licensed captain, was cited for twice violating the state’s health code for not filling out his Department of Health and Hospitals log book and vessel sanitation requirements, the release states.
Phillipe also was cited for taking commercial fish without a vessel license, no visible boat numbers, improper running lights, failing to comply with personal flotation device requirements, failing to change ownership of vessel after 45 days and failing to display a valid certificate decal.
Agents issued 20 citations, seized one oyster dredge and returned 11 sacks of oysters to the water, according to the release.
Unlawfully harvesting oysters from a private lease, without written permission from the lease holder, and during illegal hours each carries up to a $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense, the release states. Taking commercial fish without a vessel license brings up to a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Each count of the state’s health code violations carries a $25 fine and up to 10 days in jail and forfeiture of the product. Each of the boating safety violations brings a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail, according to LDWF.