Enforcement agents with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries arrested three men on Tuesday for alleged oyster and boating safety violations in St. Bernard Parish.
According to a press release, agents arrested Tyler Campo, 24, of St. Bernard, Brian Cocchiara, 24, of Chalmette and Nathan Molinary, 20, of Violet, for taking oysters during illegal hours and unlawfully taking oysters from state water bottoms.
Agents also cited Campo — the vessel operator — for allegedly failing to comply with personal flotation device requirements, not possessing a fire extinguisher, not having proper navigation lights, not possessing commercial licenses, for not filling out the Department of Health and Hospitals logbook as it pertains to oysters and not having the required vessel sanitation requirements fulfilled.
According to the release, agents made contact with a vessel being operated by Campo around 5 a.m. with no running lights and actively dredging for oysters one hour before legal harvest could begin. During the stop agents learned about the health code and boating safety violations and that Campo was dredging in an area he was not allowed.
Unlawfully harvesting oysters during illegal hours and unlawfully taking oysters from unleased state water bottoms carries a $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. Violating the health code requirements carries a $25 fine and up to 10 days in jail for each offense. Each of the boating safety violations carries a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.
Agents booked the three men into the St. Bernard Parish Jail, and also returned one sack of oysters to the water, seized one oyster dredge and a forfeiture order was placed on Campo’s vessel until disposition of case in court, the release states.
The men could also have their oyster harvester licenses revoked by the department for up to one year. The violators could also 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.