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November 7, 2016

Important Legislative Changes Have Been Made to the Oyster Harvest Regulations-

According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, in the spring of this year, several bills were enacted directly affecting the state's oyster harvesters. Oyster Harvester License Training Requirements (Act 276) will require ALL oyster harvesters to complete an eduacational program before they can apply for their 2017 oyster harvesting license. They will be required to retake this program every three years, keeping them up to date on protocol. There are also new laws in place regarding leasing practices and the oyster lease moratorium. The Legislature has amended the oyster leasing application process, provided for subordination between new oyster leases and existing coastal activities, and established preferential rights for lifting the moratorium on oyster leases in phases. (Act 595) Below are the summerized versions of these phases prepared by the Wildlife and Fisheries Department.

"Phase 1: Certain identified oyster lessees who did not renew leases due to predicted coastal restoration activities get first priority in these areas.

Phase 2: Lease expansion- Lessees may take up space between shore and and lease or lease and lease up to 500' (CPRA can require a shoreline buffer).

Phase 3: Holders of privately issued oyster leases on water bottoms who are claimed by the state and a private claimant get first priorities in these areas.

Phase 4: Open lottery- Any applicant eligible to hold an oyster lease may submit a single lottery entry and will be randomly assigned an appointment priority to apply for a single lease. (Phase 4 not to be immediately implemented)

Phase 5: Second open lottery if deemed necessary.

After Phase 5, the moratorium on oyster leasing will be fully lifted and applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis."

August 6, 2015

This year's Oyster Industry Convention will be held on August 22. It will be held at the La. Department of Wildlife & Fisheries Research Laboratory in Grand Isle, LA. the Lab is located at the end of Ludwig Lane. The meeting will feature the opening of the state of the Art Hatchery Hatchery. The topics for discussion will therefore focus on hatchery based oyster culture. for more info - jsupan@lsu.edu

June 30, 2015

The current legislative session has concluded. Here is a run down of events effecting your industry HB 341 - Set the fines for illegal activities on private leases to follow the fines for illegal activities on public. They are now the same. HB 579 Raised the rental fee on leases from $2 per acre to $3 per acre beginning 2016. the original bill also raised the fee another dollar in 2018 and also increased the severance tax, but these provisions were removed from the final bill. HCR 104 - Would create a committee to further study various items prior to lifting the moratorium. This resolution was a concern to the industry as to its makeup and items to be included in the discussions. The Resolution passed the House and the Senate. There were differences in the House and Senate versions. It was forwarded to the Conference Committee in order to reconcile these differences. The resolution did not move from the Conference Committee prior to the end of the current session, it therefore did NOT pass and died in committee.

February 2015

After reviewing the Legislative Auditors report on the oyster industry and the proposed legislation having to do with the lifting of the oyster lease moratorium, concerned oyster leaseholders decided to hire a professional to provide current accurate information to the legislators on those matters. Your Association has contracted the services of The Chesapeake Group LLC to help in this cause.