Beginning Dec. 1, Louisiana oyster harvesters will have a two-week opportunity to move oysters from the public oyster seed grounds located southwest of Point Au Fer and the South Point area, and transplant them to their private leases for later harvest.

This oyster transplant program, from Dec 1 – 14, 2007, is for the purposes of moving live oysters from the restricted areas of the public seed grounds to private oyster leases. It is a joint initiative of the Louisiana Department of Health and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

The two state agencies allow such transplants on a permit-only basis. Permit applications will be accepted beginning November 1 through November 15, 2007 at 628 N. 4th Street, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The oysters that are transplanted must remain in approved waters for a minimum of 15 days. In addition, leases on which shellfish have been transplanted may not be utilized for direct market harvesting during this period. Shellfish taken for transplanting purposes shall not be laid down within 500 feet of any adjoining lease where shellfish may be taken for sale as food during the active period of the transplant.

The transplant permit fee is $100 and a performance bond of $5,000 must accompany the transplant application. Oyster fishermen who are granted permits will be allowed to transplant between December 1, 2007 and December 14, 2007 only.

Each transplant vessel must be under the direct supervision of a commissioned officer. All costs associated with the commissioned officer are the responsibility of the person securing the permit. Incomplete applications will be rejected.

Oyster fishermen who receive permits will be allowed to transplant oysters taken from the public oyster seed grounds southwest of Point Au Fer and the South Point area to only two leases in an approved bedding area, each pre-approved by the Department of Health and Hospitals. A map identifying the lease where the oysters to be transplanted will be bedded must accompany each permit application.
Applications for transplant permits may be obtained between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, from:

David Guilbeau
Department of Health and Hospitals, Commercial Seafood Program
628 N. 4th Street
Baton Rouge, LA, 70821
Phone:  225-342-7641.