Oyster seed ground vessel permits go on sale Nov. 17

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (2008) will begin selling an oyster seed ground vessel permit on Nov. 17, 2008.

This new permit was established as an oyster industry initiative by Act 922 of the 2008 regular legislative session and will be required by Jan. 1, 2009 for boats harvesting oysters for commercial purposes from the public oyster seed grounds or reservations, except those public areas in Calcasieu and Sabine lakes.

The permit will be issued in the name of the vessel owner who shall identify the permitted vessel by the state registration number or U.S. Coast Guard documented number. Qualifying criteria for obtaining a permit was outlined by the new law and there are three ways a vessel owner can qualify to purchase a permit:

1. Vessels owners who owned a vessel that was properly licensed and had trip-ticket recorded oyster landings between Jan. 1, 2004 and May 31, 2007.

2. Vessel owners who purchased or constructed a vessel and licensed that vessel between Jan. 1, 2004 and April 30, 2008, and that vessel had trip-ticket recorded oyster landings between the time of construction/purchase and July 1, 2008.

3. Vessel owner who was/is constructing a vessel and that vessel is verified as being at least 50 percent complete in its construction by July 1, 2008.

Permits are only required for those taking oysters from the public grounds for commercial purposes and an appeals board is being established to hear appeals of permit applications previously denied by the department and appeals based on hardship. Act 922 prohibits LDWF from accepting new applications for the oyster seed ground vessel permits after Dec. 31, 2009. The permit is $15 for residents and $60 for non-residents.

The taking of oysters from the public natural reefs, oyster seed grounds or reservations without an oyster seed ground vessel permit will result in a class two violation.

For more information or applications, contact the licensing section at 225-765-2898. To review notices of intent passed by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission relative to this permit, visit the LDWF Web site at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/education/commissionactions.

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