A 30-year-old Port Sulphur man was cited on June 14 for several oyster-related violations after agents on patrol saw him in the Grand Bayou area with 194 sacks of oysters on his boat.

According to a press release, Joel Gonzales was on a boat that allegedly did not have a tarp, which is required by the Department of Health and Hospitals to protect oysters from direct exposure to sun.

Further investigation revealed Gonzales did not have the required ID numbers on his boat required for department air surveillance, the vessel was not registered by the department and wasn’t licensed to transport seafood for sale, the release states.

The vessel also did not meet LDWF regulations for an oyster cargo vessel, which requires installation of a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS).

A vessel with no boat numbers, operating an unregistered motorboat and failing to display proper number on a vessel each carries a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail, according to the release.

Violation of the state’s health code as it pertains to oysters carries a $450 fine and up to 10 days in jail, and violation of VMS regulations carries a maximum fine of $950 and up to 120 days in jail, plus court costs and forfeiture of anything seized.  

Taking commercial fish without a vessel license carries up to a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail, the release states.

Agents seized the 194 sacks of oysters and returned them to the state’s water bottoms, according to the release.