Friday, December 11, 2015
The age old argument of making conservation decisions to protect or enhance fish or wildlife species has come to the Georgia Coast.
The Coastal Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources along with the Finfish Advisory Panel has been collecting and discussing data about speckled trout for years now. The data included numerous types of survey data, discussions of rain (fresh water intrusion) and temperature effects, and specifications on reproduction cycles. Comparisons were made with habitat, tides, and forage with neighboring States. The CDNR put out informational surveys via emails and their website as well as conducting Public Hearings to hear from the public.
The proposed changes that were finalized on were to increase the minimum size for speckled trout from 13 inches to 14 inches. The limit of 15 fish per person per day remains the same.
There were several anglers that contested that by omitting the 13 inch fish would inhibit their ability to catch fish for their food or for their business as guides. The majority of the anglers responded by saying that there are a substantial number of larger fish in the 14 inch and up range in the water and the anglers need to locate them and catch them, I would agree.
Catch survey data has shown that more 13 inch fish are caught and kept than any other size, with 14 inch fish second. If the 13 inch fish were eliminated from the creel, look at how many more eggs are being dispersed during the spawn. Speckled trout can spawn several times in the warmer months.
The bottom line is......Georgia is behind the power curve when it comes to speckled trout quantity and quality when compared to upper Florida, South Carolina, and Lower North Carolina. Georgia has one of the richest ecosystems in the World and we need to enhance our resources through this type of conservation for anglers of all types to enjoy and benefit from Georgia coastal waters.
The new speckled trout changes will be implemented January 1st, 2016.
Here are some CDNR data on Speckled Trout: http://www.coastalgadnr.org/sites/uploads/crd/pdf/SpottedSeatrout/Seatrout_Biology_%208_18_15.pdf
Posted by CGKF Team
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