Agents with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries cited four men for allegedly taking oysters off a private lease in Bay Marlene last week.
On June 22, agents cited Ernesto Frederick-Valentin, 45, Carlos Treminio, 31, Marshal Palacios, 35, all of New Orleans, and Casey Billiot, 24, of Houma, for unlawfully taking oysters off a private lease and from an unapproved area. Agents also cited Frederick-Valentin for not possessing a commercial gear license for the dredge at the time of the stop, according to a press release.
Following up on anonymous tip, agents arrived and found the spot in question also was located inside a polluted area for taking oysters. Nine sacks of oysters were returned to the water, and the vessel and dredge were seized on a department seizure order, the release states.
Taking oysters off a private lease and taking oysters from an unapproved area each carries a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense. Taking commercial fish without a commercial gear license carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail, the release states.
The men could also have their oyster harvester licenses revoked by the department for up to one year, and could be sentenced to perform 40 hours of community service and only be allowed to harvest oysters from a vessel with a vessel monitoring device for up to one year, according to the release.