Enforcement agents with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries arrested four men for alleged oyster harvesting violations in Terrebonne Parish.
According to a press release, Alfredo De-Laoanaya, 21, of Houma, Francisco Maradingo-Ruiz, 34, of Houma, Esteban Morelos-Reyes, 60, of Houma and Eliazar Martine-Macedo, 28, of Beaumont, Texas, were arrested on Dec. 16 for take oysters during a closed season on the Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation and taking oysters during illegal hours.
The captain of the vessel, De-Laoanaya, also was cited for violating the log book and vessel sanitation requirements sanitation codes, improper running lights and improper boat numbers, the release states.
Acting on a tip, agents set up surveillance and allegedly observed the suspects’ boat dredging on the Sister Lake Seed Reservation, which is closed for the 2014-15 season.
The vessel was stopped shortly before 6 p.m., and the four men were in possession of 60 sacks of oysters, which were returned to the water. Agents seized the vessel and two dredges, and the men were booked into the Terrebonne Parish Jail.
Taking oysters during illegal hours carries a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. Taking oysters during a closed season brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. Having improper running lights and improper boat numbers carries up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail for each offense. Violating the logbook sanitation code and vessel sanitation requirements each carries up to a $25 fine and up to 10 days in jail for each offense, the release states.