Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited two men for alleged oyster violations on Jan. 4 in Terrebonne Parish.
Agents cited Webb Verdin, 41, and Trinity Bergeron, 25, both from Houma, for taking oysters from a polluted area.
Agents received a complaint of illegal oyster harvest in Bayou Sevin, which is next to Hwy. 56 in Terrebonne Parish and currently closed to oyster harvest because it has been deemed polluted by the Louisiana Department of Health. LDWF agents responded and deployed a drone and videoed the subjects actively harvesting oysters in a polluted area.
Agents seized 16 sacks of oysters and returned them to the water. The vessel and dredge were seized on a department seizure order.
LDWF agents began utilizing drones for aerial surveillance video for illegal oyster harvest in March of 2018.
Taking oysters from an unapproved polluted area brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.
In addition to the fine, upon conviction, the department shall revoke the violator’s oyster harvester license for one year for the first offence, three years for the second offense, and ten years for the third offense. During the time the violator’s oyster harvester license is revoked on a first offense, the violator can only be present on an oyster vessel that is equipped with a vessel monitoring device. For the second and third offense, the violator cannot be present on any vessel harvesting oysters during the time their license is revoked.
The case will be forwarded to District Attorney Joseph Waitz for prosecution.
Agents participating in the case are Capt. Bryan Marie, Sgt. Edward Ridgel and Sgt. Ezekiel Talbert.