Two cited for alleged Big Lake oyster violations

Cameron men accused of using a dredge in a tonging-only area, LDWF says

Enforcement agents with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries cited two Cameron men for alleged oyster violations on May 7 in Calcasieu Lake.

According to a news release, Ronald W. Gaspard, 61, and Joshua J. Lebouef, 39, were ticketed for allegedly violating Big Lake oyster regulations, taking oysters during illegal hours and taking undersized oysters from a natural reef.

After receiving complaints about oystermen using a dredge in the West Cove Conditional Management Area, enforcement agents set up surveillance and allegedly observed the two men taking oysters during illegal hours, being over the limit and hiding a dredge from their vessel in the marsh, the release states.

Upon making contact with the subjects, agents found them in possession of 14 sacks of oysters, of which 48 were undersized. Both men admitted that seven sacks of oysters were caught during illegal hours with the illegal dredge, according to the release.

The dredge was seized, and all 14 sacks of oysters were returned to the water. Violating Calcasieu Lake oyster regulations and taking oysters during illegal hours, brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense.  Taking undersized oysters from a natural reef brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail, the release states.

The offenders may also face forfeiting their permits to harvest oysters on Calcasieu Lake, and be barred from obtaining permits for the remainder of the period for which it was issued plus one year, during which time the offenders will be barred from participating in any oyster harvesting activity on Calcasieu Lake, according to the release.