BRUNSWICK — The Coastal Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources will host public hearings on proposed amendments to the rules of Georgia Department of Natural Resources/Coastal Resources Division, Chapter 391-2-4, saltwater-fishing regulations.
Over the past three years, staff with the Coastal Resources Division has discussed management of spotted seatrout with the 10-member Finfish Advisory Panel. These discussions led to a recommendation from a majority of FAP members that the Board of Natural Resources take action to increase the minimum size from 13 inches to 14 inches.
This increase in the minimum size will allow spotted sea trout two spawning seasons before they can be legally harvested, leading to greater reproductive output from each year’s class. The expected results of this action are higher abundance of spotted sea trout, increased numbers of larger fish in the population and greater resiliency of the population to extreme environmental conditions, such as winter freezes and droughts.
“Spotted sea trout are one of the most-popular fish for Georgia’s saltwater anglers. The goal of management is to insure that there is the highest-possible abundance of sea trout each year while also satisfying the expectations of anglers,” said Spud Woodward, director of the Coastal Resources Division. “To accomplish this, we use harvest regulations that require the release of fish so they can grow to larger size and participate in spawning. Studies show that over 90 percent of hook-caught spotted sea trout survive after release. So, anglers can be confident in the conservation benefits of our saltwater fish harvest regulations.”
More information on proper fish handling techniques is available at www.eregulations.com/georgia/fishing/handling-releas
Public hearings on the proposed amendments are scheduled for Monday, Sept. 28, at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum, 175 Bourne Ave. in Pooler, and Tuesday, Sept. 29, at the Stellar Conference Center, 144 Venture Drive in Brunswick. Both hearings will begin at 6 p.m.
Written public comments also are welcome and should be legible, concise and limited to the proposed rule change. To ensure their consideration, written comments must be received by close of business on Friday, Oct. 2. Address written or email comments to Doug Haymans, Coastal Resources Division, 1 Conservation Way, Brunswick, GA 31520, or email email@example.com.
Following the comment period, the Board of Natural Resources will consider the proposed rule at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, at its board room at 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SE, Suite 1252, in Atlanta.
Additional information is available at www.CoastalGaDNR.org.