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Meet Jason Letort, Fisheries Methods & Equipment Specialist

June 04, 2021

Jason Letort is a gear specialist, with a focus on turtle excluder devices, providing expertise to commercial shrimp fishermen, industry members, and law enforcement. His goal is to conserve sea turtles through gear compliance.

Jason Letort holds a juvenile loggerhead sea turtle during permitted work testing a turtle excluder device off the coast of Panama City, Florida. Jason Letort holds a juvenile loggerhead sea turtle during permitted work testing a turtle excluder device off the coast of Panama City, Florida. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.

Where did you grow up?  

I’m a lifelong resident of the Mississippi Gulf Coast (Biloxi).

How did you come to work at the Southeast Fisheries Science Center? 

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Jason Letort checking a turtle excluder device.
Jason Letort performing a dockside courtesy Turtle Excluder Device check in Fort Myers, Florida. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.

I was born in Ocean Springs, Mississippi and have been a lifelong resident of South Mississippi. I grew up with a passion for anything outdoors, especially fishing and shrimping with my family. I have been a member of the Gear Monitoring Team for 4 years. Before working for NOAA Fisheries, I supported NOAA Office of Marine & Aviation Operations as a contractor since 2008. I provided production oversight during the construction of the Fisheries Survey Vessels including the NOAA Ships Bell M. Shimada and Pisces. After that, I was acting Port Engineer for Pisces successfully executing major dockside and dry-dock repair periods. I addressed several critical casualties during the sailing season, ensuring the ship was available to complete her missions. While performing these duties, I interacted with a lot of people working for NOAA and quickly realized that NOAA Fisheries was the place for me! I was selected for the position and haven’t looked back.

What do you do at the Science Center?

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Jason Letort while providing law enforcement turtle excluder device training.
Jason Letort (third from left in foreground) while providing law enforcement turtle excluder device training for Texas Parks & Wildlife enforcement officers. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.

As a member of the Gear Monitoring Team, I provide commercial shrimp fishermen and industry members with education, outreach, and training of Turtle Excluder Device rules and regulations. Our team provides law enforcement training to state and federal agencies. We also conduct courtesy TED inspections during “at sea” patrols and dockside in order to maintain compliance requirements. As a dive team member I participate in the testing of TED design, efficacy, and determining exclusion rate.

What do you like most about your position?  

The thing I like most about my position is meeting and interacting with new people on a daily basis. It is very rewarding when a fisherman shakes your hand at the end of a boarding and tells you how much he appreciates the time spent helping him understand TED rules and regulations as well as how to achieve optimum TED performance while helping to exclude sea turtles.

Jason is featured in this short video discussing the importance of proper TED bar spacing and getting the TED angle right.

What do you like to do outside of work?  

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Jason Letort and family.
The Letort family while on vacation in the Smoky Mountains. Credit: Courtesy of Jason Letort.

While not working, I enjoy fishing, hunting, camping, and spending time with my amazing family. I also enjoy coaching my son's little league baseball team and spending time at home relaxing around the pool and grilling with friends and family.

 

 

Last updated by Southeast Fisheries Science Center on June 17, 2021