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L.D.W.F. Agent Receives Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award

Release Date: 09/02/2010

L.D.W.F. Agent Receives Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award

The National Association of Safe Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) honoredLouisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division Sgt. Joseph Ortis with the Louisiana Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award.  Ortis received the award today, Sept. 2 at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting in Baton Rouge.

Ortis, of Oscar, joined LDWF in 1990 and became an agent in 1997 and mainly patrols the False River during the boating season.  Ortis also previously earned the 2004 LDWF Agent of the Year award.

"Sgt. Ortis is a valuable asset to the department and patrols one of the most recreationally used bodies of water in Pointe Coupee, Lafayette, St. Landry and West Baton Rouge parishes," said Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, LDWF's State Boating Law Administrator.  "This award is well deserved and reflects Sgt. Ortis' dedication to safe boating and waterway enforcement."

Ortis has attended both the Level One and Advanced Boating Accident Investigation Courses offered by NASBLA and has effectively utilized the knowledge and skills gained by his attendance in recent boating crash incidents.  Ortis also instructs boating safety classes and public boating safety forums.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

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First Tour Du Teche Canoe Race to be Held Sept. 17-19

Release Date: 09/02/2010

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division hasapproved a marine event permit for the upcoming Tour du Teche canoe race from Sept. 17-19.

The 130-mile race on Bayou Techewill begin at Port Barre on Sept. 17 at 8 a.m. with a finish line at Patterson.  There will be a 60-hour cutoff to finish this inaugural race.

To register for the race and more information on fees, the mandatory meeting on Sept. 16 and rules, please visit www.techeproject.com/tour-du-teche.html.

The Tour du Teche is a part of the Teach Ecology, Culture and History Education (TECHE) Project that originated in Summer 2009 in St. Landry Parish.  The project aims to make Bayou Teche a healthier waterway for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, boating, tubing and swimming.

"The department was happy to issue a marine event permit for the inaugural Tour du Teche canoe race since it corresponds with the department's mission to conserve and protect the state's natural resources and met the permit approval guidelines," said Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne.  "We hope this canoe race really catches on and helps improve the recreational and aesthetic qualities of the Bayou Teche watershed in the future."

The department issues marine event permits for any organized event held on the water that introduces extra or unusual safety hazards on navigable waterways.  Permit forms can be found at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/permits and must be turned in to the department at least 30 days prior to any event.

According to the Teche Project Web site, "One goal of the TECHE Project and Tour du Teche is to educate people about water quality and the need for nonpoint source pollution prevention and reduction.  Discovery can take place with an interactive, hands-on experience on and along Bayou Teche.  Tour du Teche will work with the National Park Service, parishes and towns to identify public access needs and help implement improvement activities.  Education kiosks will be built to provide self-directed education to boaters and paddlers about water quality, preventing non-point source pollution, native flora and birds, culture, history as well as boater safety information for children and adults."

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

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FDA and NOAA Agree with LDWF on Sampling in Closed Fishing Areas East of the Mississippi River

Release Date: 09/01/2010

 

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) concurred with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' (LDWF) request to begin the process to re-open state waters to commercial fishing currently closed east of the Mississippi Delta, including the Chandeleur Islands.  These areas were originally closed due to confirmed reports of oil suspected to be from the Deepwater Horizon incident.  This marks the first federal testing to take place on seafood in these waters since the state issued the emergency closures.  Once samples from these areas are determined to be safe of all hydrocarbons and dispersant substance, LDWF Secretary Robert Barham intends to order immediate openings to commercial fishing in these areas.  

 Currently, LDWF fisheries biologists are collecting thousands of specimens of crab, shrimp and finfish in these areas to submit to FDA and NOAA for sensory testing and chemical analysis.  Once these samples are processed, the FDA will render their decision on the reopening.  
 
"Once this opening is complete it will leave only eight percent of state waters closed to commercial fishing," said Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.  "The state will not rest until all areas are open including federal waters off Louisiana's coast."  

LDWF guidelines for re-opening commercial fishing areas are as follows: 

Once visible signs of oil are no longer apparent in waters previously closed by LDWF to commercial fishing, LDWF will submit an 'intent to reopen' letter to NOAA and FDA.
 
LDWF biologists then conduct thorough sampling of finfish, crabs and shrimp in the proposed reopening area.

Following the collection of the samples, biologists will immediately transfer specimens to be tested by the FDA and NOAA for signs of chemical contamination.  
 
Once the analysis is complete FDA and NOAA will render an opinion regarding the proposed reopening. The entire process is expected to be completed in 14 days.

 For more information contact Marianne Burke at mburke@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2917.

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