A seafood dealer and processor in Pass Christian was found guilty Thursday of possessing un-refrigerated oysters and possession of illegal oysters.
Quy Huu Nguyen of Pass Christian was found guilty of the two charges by Judge Brandon Ladner in Harrison County Justice Court. He was fined $858 and has 30 days to pay.
Marine Patrol officers with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (M.D.M.R.) in January investigated Nguyen over several days after receiving information that he was selling illegal oysters in Alabama.
Officers involved in the investigation were Bryce Gex, Mike Yonce, Roy Lipscomb, and Amanda Skoke.
Keith Davis, chief of Marine Patrol for M.D.M.R., said Nguyen has a license to be a seafood dealer and processor, but he failed to become certified for sanitation by the agency.
Officers found that Nguyen was buying oysters, shucking them outside at his home and putting them in Mason jars with no label. The oysters were not refrigerated. He shucked 90 sacks of oysters in 30 days, Davis said.
"I want to commend our officers for their diligence in this investigation," he said.
Raw oysters can contain bacteria that are a health hazard for people with compromised immune systems.
"We want our residents to buy local Gulf seafood," said Melissa Scallan, public information officer for M.D.M.R. "But they need to purchase it from reputable, certified dealers in order to protect themselves and the industry."
The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is dedicated to enhancing, protecting and conserving marine interests of the state by managing all marine life, public trust wetlands, adjacent uplands and waterfront areas to provide for the optimal commercial, recreational, educational and economic uses of these resources consistent with environmental concerns and social changes. Visit the M.D.M.R. online at www.dmr.ms.gov.