Judge Randy Bethancourt found three Houma men guilty of oyster violations on Monday in connection with an incident on the Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation late last year, according to a press release from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
The captain of the vessel, Samuel Dobson, 35, was ordered to pay $1,654.50 in fines and forfeit his commercial fishing license for 10 years, as well as to perform 120 hours of community service in a litter abatement program and undergo one year of supervised probation, the release states.
In addition, John Parker III, 25, was ordered to pay a $2,629.50 fine and Dylan Parker, 21, was ordered to pay a $2,679.50 fine, according to the release.
Enforcement agents arrested the men last Dec. 18 for taking oysters during a closed season, taking oysters from a polluted area, taking oysters during illegal hours, taking oysters without commercial gear and vessel licenses and violating the sanitation code, the release states.
Around 8:30 p.m. that night, LDWF agents were patrolling the Sister Lake Seed Reservation when they observed a vessel in the open water dredging for oysters, and stopped the vessel and found the three men in possession of two sacks.
In a separate incident on Sister Lake earlier this month, agents cited Brent M. Leboeuf, 23, Amberlly C. Leboeuf, 28 and Armando Brunet, 28, all from Houma, and Jose Duron, 20, and Tito Bermudez, 22, both from New Orleans, for taking oysters during a closed season.
Due to complaints of illegal activity, agents had set up a surveillance on May 7 and allegedly observed an oyster vessel enter Sister Lake near dusk and harvest oysters on the closed seed ground.
Agents returned 20 sacks of oysters to the water and seized the vessel and two dredges, according to the release.
Taking oysters during a closed season brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. Any person convicted of this violation may only harvest oysters from a vessel that employs a vessel monitoring system monitored by LDWF for a period of one year, the release states.