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      RS 40:5.3     

  

§5.3. Molluscan shellfish sanitation requirements; opening and closing of molluscan shellfish growing areas; adoption of guidelines to regulate molluscan shellfish industry; authority to collect samples for bacteriological analysis; testing of oysters; Calcasieu Lake

            A. The legislature finds and declares that serious risks to public health are posed by harvesting molluscan shellfish from growing areas not approved by the state health officer; and that it is in the best interests of the public health and welfare, as well as the Louisiana molluscan shellfish industry, that the state be authorized to immediately close from harvesting any molluscan shellfish growing area adversely affected by health dangers, and to immediately open such molluscan shellfish growing areas when it is determined that the health dangers are no longer a threat to public health.

            B. Notwithstanding the provisions of R.S. 40:4, the provisions of Chapter 13 of Title 49 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes, except R.S. 49:951, 952, 954.1, 963, and 965, shall not apply to procedures and proceedings to close from molluscan shellfish harvesting any molluscan shellfish growing area affected by a public health danger, nor to procedures and proceedings for subsequent opening of any such molluscan shellfish growing areas when the Louisiana Department of Health and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries jointly determine that the protection of the public health mandates or warrants such closure or opening, nor to procedures and proceedings for such determination.

            C. The Louisiana Department of Health shall utilize supplemental water quality data from certified laboratories of other state and local government agencies in water quality monitoring and sampling programs to be used by the department for certifying the quality of molluscan shellfish harvested from Louisiana growing areas in compliance with this Section. However, nothing in this Subsection shall prevent the department from having the final decision making authority in the opening and closing of molluscan shellfish growing areas.

            D. Approved molluscan shellfish growing area water quality monitoring plans from other state or local agencies may be shared in meetings called by the representative or senator from the respective districts containing molluscan shellfish growing areas.

            E. The purpose of this Section is to develop guidelines to govern and regulate the shellfish industry to ensure that the final shellfish product is safe and wholesome. The Louisiana Department of Health shall enforce the requirements for classification of shellfish growing areas and for certifying, processing, and distributing shellfish, which requirements are contained in Part IX of Title 51 of the Louisiana Administrative Code and promulgated under the provisions of R.S. 49:953.1.

            F. The Louisiana Legislature may create a Shellfish Management Task Force which shall periodically review the procedures by which the Louisiana Department of Health and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries determine the opening and closing of molluscan shellfish growing areas to be certain that Louisiana water quality monitoring and sampling is in full compliance with sanitation requirements for shellfish growing areas and for harvesting, processing, and distributing shellfish.

            G. The taking of molluscan shellfish from areas closed, or not approved, by the state health officer shall constitute a violation of this Section and R.S. 56:424(E).

            H. In order for the Louisiana Department of Health to monitor molluscan shellfish-related diseases for verification and certification, the department may collect from all water bottoms, both public and private, such shellfish samples as may be required for bacteriological, chemical, and radiological analysis. The department shall notify the owner or lessee of the collection of such samples, but it shall not be a condition precedent to the taking of such shellfish.

            I. Until final adoption by the secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries of regulations governing freshwater mussels, the provisions of this Section shall not apply to the harvesting of freshwater mussels in those areas of the state designated as freshwater by R.S. 56:322(A) and (B) provided that such harvesting is for shells only.

            J. The Louisiana Department of Health shall be required to collect any samples of oysters and report the results of any testing of oysters in Calcasieu Lake for chemical, radiological, or metallic analysis at least forty-five days prior to the opening of the oyster season as fixed by the commission in accordance with R.S. 56:435.1 or 435.2. Nothing herein shall interfere with the authority of the department to conduct such routine chemical testing for the presence of such contaminants during the open season.

            Added by Acts 1982, No. 406, §1; Acts 1982, No. 685, §1. Amended by Acts 1983, No. 232, §1; Acts 1988, No. 1, §2, eff. May 12, 1988; Acts 1991, No. 632, §1; Acts 1992, No. 851, §2; Acts 1995, No. 120, §1, eff. June 12, 1995; Acts 2004, No. 213, §2; Acts 2018, No. 206, §4; Acts 2021, No. 211, §10.



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