Enforcement agents with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries cited two men last week for alleged oyster violations in Bay Adams.
According to a press release, Matthew J. Lepetich, 37, of Belle Chasse and Jose M. Bocanegra, 45, of St. Bernard, were cited for violations of the state’s oyster sanitation code.
Lepetich also was cited for violations of the vessel monitoring systems for oyster cargo vessels, failing to tag oysters properly and failing to maintain required records for oyster vessels, the release states.
Agents stopped Lepetich in Bay Adams on Sept. 26 and found he allegedly didn’t have his required Department of Health and Hospitals log sheet filled out. The sheet is used to indicate what the oysters will be used for, according to the release.
Further investigation revealed Lepetich was allegedly receiving oysters intended for human consumption from one of his other vessels that had no type of refrigeration on board.
Finally, the oysters harvested by Lepetich himself were not properly tagged by lot in accordance with DHH regulations, and he did not have the required vessel monitoring system required for oyster cargo vessels, the release states.
Agents seized 351 sacks of oysters and returned them to the water, according to the release.
Violating the state’s oyster sanitation code for non-refrigerated oysters for raw consumption, failing to maintain required records for oyster vessels and the vessel monitoring system for oyster cargo vessels each brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. Failing to tag oysters carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail, the release states.