New law puts redfish off limits to commercial fishing
Sports fishermen argued commercial trawling was cutting into catches
May 7, 2013, ATLANTA, GA - Fans of redfish will either have to catch it themselves or buy it from someone out of state now that Georgia has a new law prohibiting its commercial harvest.
Monday, Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law House Bill 36, sponsored by Rep. Ben Watson, R-Savannah. It formally designates the red drum as a “game fish,” limiting it to recreational fishing.
The measure was supported by sportsmen who complain it’s become too hard for them to catch the fish that is popular as a fighter. They argue saving the fish from commercial harvest will leave them as a draw for tourists who’ll bring economic benefits.
Critics of the proposal say it will be a disadvantage to the poor who frequently buy the fish in stores and who are unlikely to have boats capable of offshore fishing in the ocean.
The Department of Natural Resources didn’t request the law, noting that only 500 pounds of it is sold annually.
The new law takes effect immediately.