Louisiana oyster harvesters now can be permitted to move oysters from the public seed grounds located southwest of Point Au Fer and the South Point area and transplant them to private leases for later harvest.

This oyster relaying program is part of an initiative by both 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 Sept. 1-15, 2006 at 628 N. 4th Street, Baton Rouge, La.

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 Oct. 1 and 14, 2006 only, and 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.

The transplanted oysters must remain in approved waters for a minimum of 15 days; no part of any lease on which shellfish have been transplanted may be used 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.

Oyster fishermen who receive permits will be allowed to transplant oysters to only two leases in an approved bedding area, each pre-approved by DHH. A map identifying the lease where transplanted oysters will be bedded must accompany each permit application.
Applications for transplant permits may be obtained between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, from David Guilbeau, LDH Commercial Seafood Program, Bienville Bldg., First Floor Room 156, 628 N. 4th Street , Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70821. Phone:  225-342-7641.