BRUNSWICK — Georgia Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams has announced that during a fall meeting, the Board of Natural Resources approved an increase in the minimum-size limit for spotted sea trout from 13 inches to 14 inches, total length.
The change became effective this month. The vote was taken after public comment provided through two public hearings and email.
In 2012, the Finfish Advisory Panel was created to advise DNR on saltwater fish management. Membership includes a commercial fisherman, fishing guides and anglers from the coastal area and inland. The FAP members met with DNR staff over the past three years learning about the biology, population trends, and management goals for spotted sea trout.
A majority of the FAP members, in concurrence with DNR staff, recommended that the Board of Natural Resources consider changing Georgia’s saltwater fishing regulations to increase the spotted sea trout minimum size.
Each year, thousands of anglers take to Georgia’s coastal waters in search of spotted sea trout, or speckled trout as they are known to many. The popularity of the species stems from its tenacious fight when hooked, table fare and accessibility to anglers fishing from shore and boat.
However, this popularity makes the species vulnerable to overharvest so there are harvest regulations to ensure adequate numbers of juvenile fish, especially females, reach adulthood and spawn. Each year, DNR biologists monitor sea trout populations through surveys of angler catches and sampling.
More information on the spotted sea trout minimum-size change regulation is available on the DNR web site at: CoastalGaDNR.org/Trout