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LDWF agents utilize drone to catch illegal oyster harvester

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
Plaquemine Post South

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited an oyster fisherman for alleged oyster violations on Dec. 20 in Calcasieu Parish.

Agents cited Alexander Antonio Amaya-Zelaya, 37, from Terrytown, for taking oysters from a polluted area, violating the sanitary code and failing to display proper numbers on the vessel.

Agents responded to complaints of illegal oyster harvests in lower Calcasieu Parish. Using aerial surveillance from a drone, agents observed and recorded Alexander illegally harvesting oysters in polluted waters. The vessel also did not display the required numbers visible by air and did not have a human waste receptacle.

Agents seized 10 sacks of oysters and returned them to the water. The vessel was seized on a department seizure order.

LDWF agents began utilizing drones for aerial surveillance on oyster patrols in March of 2018.

Taking oysters from an unapproved polluted area brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. The men could also face having their oyster harvester licenses revoked by LDWF 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 that is equipped with a vessel monitoring device for up to one year.

Failing to display proper numbers on the vessel brings a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail. Violate the sanitary code brings up to a $25 fine and 15 days in jail.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov.

Contributed by LDWF