Puddlefish Vs. Gamefish in Georgia

When the Wall Street Journal took aim at the governor of Georgia yesterday, casting him as a sort of L’il Abner of state budget management, it recorded that Sonny Perdue believes that fishing in small, hot, man-made lakes will provide the economic shot-in-the-arm that will save the state. In fact the state has gone ahead with the construction of a $14 million “Go Fish Georgia” center near Purdue’s hometown.
Consider, then, that a state that has overbuilt its water supply and that recently considered damming several wild rivers to help manage its water crisis hasn’t even bothered to enact programs that would generate significant revenue at much lower cost. Case in point: declaring “gamefish” status for redfish. Georgia is the only state other than Mississippi to have failed to recognize the economic benefits of limiting the commercial harvest of redfish. Even Spud Woodward, Georgia’s assistant director for marine fisheries, recently noted that “over time recreational fishing has grown in importance, and commercial fishing has somewhat diminished. The designation of species targeted by recreational fishermen just makes sense.” Robert Pavey in the Augusta Chronicle.
Now if we can just get Spud and Sonny together on the idea that maybe a few million of those puddlefish dollars should go to regulating the harvest of redfish, we could all be winners — especially the guides and anglers who treasure the resources of the Georgia coast. Take the time today to go to the GeorgiaRedfish.org Web site and sign the online form that registers your wish to see redfish protected. It will take only seconds, and you will have done a good thing for fishing — and for the state of Georgia.

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  • Adam McDowell

    There have been rumors of Burton Hatchery Closing(not sure if it has happened yet), one of the states few brown trout hatcheries, due to budget cuts! So go figure! But I shouldn’t complain, since we currently have gasoline and drinking water in Atlanta, which have become scarce from time to time in the last few years.

  • “. Georgia is the only state other than Mississippi to have failed to recognize the economic benefits of limiting the commercial harvest of redfish.”
    Don’t forget about good old North Carolina. At least Georgia has outlawed gill nets and the gamefish thing will pass. Not sure what we are going to find here in NC.

  • David

    I’ve got to say that this is a little misleading at best. What hasn’t been mentioned throughout all of this is the fact that the $19 Million raised for the Go Fish Georgia program was acquired through the issuance of special bonds. So, this program was not paid for by way of tax dollars. And the law states that the monies raised through the issuance of these special bonds must be used as was intended.
    When this program was initiated, we weren’t in the middle of an historic drought or a big budget crisis. So, hindsight on this issue is distorted because of our present circumstances.
    Redfish do need to be designated as a gamefish – I actually signed that petition on the site two days ago – but gillnetting hasn’t been allowed inshore in years and our state even performs supplemental stockings of redfish fingerlings into our coastal waters. But as far as economic development is concerned, Georgia is far more likely to be seen as a bass destination than it is a saltwater destination, which is why the GFG decision was made. Attacking the Go Fish Georgia program is like punishing one kid for another’s actions – it simply has nothing to do with redfish or ANY funds that could go towards the red.
    Lastly, to refer to the largemouth-, spotted- and even smallmouth bass – all of which are AWESOME on the fly rod – in one of our many great reservoirs in Georgia as “puddlefish” is a little naive. These fish are outstanding gamefish.

  • Marshall Cutchin

    David,
    For the record, most of the fishing I am doing lately — and certainly the most exciting — is fly fishing for largemouth. The “puddlefish” reference was meant to point to the irony of spending so much money supporting man-made resources while largely ignoring the natural ones — not to disparage the fish.
    Marshall

  • David

    Marshall,
    Sorry for misunderstanding – I’m addicted to this site, by the way, so thanks for the daily distractions.
    And Adam,
    Fortunately, we fought hard enough (by writing, calling and emailing our DNR board and our state reps) to get them to pull the Burton Hatchery off the chopping block. And it’s a good thing, too, as 1/3 of our state’s trout – rainbows and browns – come from there, as do all of our walleye. Keeping that place open was a very sweet victory for us.

  • Marshall Cutchin

    No apologies necessary, David. I think all of your points were relevant. And after all, it’s folks like you doing grassroots work on the issues that make the real difference. All we can do is try to make people aware of what’s going on.
    Marshall