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POSTED: January 16, 2012 2:04 p.m.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resources Division will host two public information meetings on proposed legislative changes to the way saltwater fishing is regulated.
The first meeting is at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the John W. Stevens Wetlands Education Center in J.F. Gregory Park in Richmond Hill.
The second is at 6 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Southeast Georgia Conference Center on the campus of the College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswick.
Public input gathered at the meetings will be provided to the Georgia General Assembly for its use in considering new legislation.
Currently, Georgia law divides authority for regulating saltwater fishing among the Georgia General Assembly, the Board of Natural Resources and the Commissioner of Natural Resources. For some species, the General Assembly has retained sole authority for management while, in the case of other species, two or all three of the groups share responsibility.
This division of authority among three entities often makes it difficult for the DNR to implement science-based management measures in a timely and effective manner.
“The most important part of this proposal is to give the Board of Natural Resources the ability to manage saltwater fishing like they manage freshwater fishing and hunting,” said Spud Woodward, CRD director.
“Most importantly, the board is required by law to consider public comment before making any decision so fishermen will always have an opportunity to weigh in on proposed changes.”
Under the proposed legislation, authority for routine management actions for several species of saltwater fish, blue crabs, horseshoe crabs, jellyfish and bait shrimp would move to the Board of Natural Resources.
The bill also includes a proposal to create a no-cost Saltwater Information Program requirement to improve recreational fishing data. No current fishing regulations for saltwater fish, shrimp or crabs will be changed by this proposed legislation.
For more information, contact Doug Haymans at 912-264-7218 or doug.haymans@gadnr.org.

 

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