A historic day for red drum and recreational angling

Governor signs bill designating game fish status for red drum

Posted on May 09, 2013

Atlanta (5-7-2013) Gov. Nathan Deal put his signature on House Bill 36 during a signing ceremony in the governor’s office on May 6th and elevated the State Saltwater Fish to its rightful place as game fish in Georgia. The bill, promoted and supported by CCA Georgia and other angling groups, officially recognizes the special status of red drum among recreational anglers and specifies that the species cannot be sold and may legally be taken only by pole and line.

“Game fish status has been a goal of the recreational angling community for years,” said Brooks Schoen, past chairman of the CCA Georgia Government Relations Committee. “This year, we were able to garner broad support by partnering with other like-minded organizations, such as GeorgiaRedfish.org, to achieve something that will benefit Georgia anglers today and for generations to come.” 

HB 36 found wide support in the General Assembly, passing the House by a vote of 168-0 and the Senate by a vote of 38-12.

“Those vote totals indicate an extremely high level of support for this effort, which bodes well for the future of recreational angling in Georgia. It’s clear that our representatives not only heard the conservation message from recreational anglers, they agree with that message,” said Jeff Young, current chairman of CCA Georgia’s Government Relations Committee. “This experience really drives home not only how important it is for our organization to grow and be a strong, active participant in the management of our coastal resources, but also how important it is to form good partnerships with like-minded organizations.”

Rep. Ben Watson of Savannah authored the bill, and was present for the signing. He recognized the work done by Schoen, Young, Duckworth and other volunteers with CCA Georgia and GeorgiaRedfish.org for their commitment to working the bill through the House and Senate.

“We have accomplished good legislation for the fishing community of Georgia, and I am proud to witness this bill signed by Gov. Deal,” said Watson.

“I am proud of the way our members stepped up to the plate and kept in contact with their elected officials all the way through this process. As a grassroots organization, we depend on our volunteers to drive these efforts,” said Tom Rood, chairman of CCA Georgia. “But we certainly could not have done this without our champions. We are very proud to have worked with conservation-minded legislators like Rep. Watson, who authored and ushered this bill through the House, and Sen. Buddy Carter, who ushered this bill through the senate. And we are grateful to Gov. Deal, who demonstrated his commitment to recreational angling and to the conservation of this species. It’s a great day for Georgia anglers and a great day for Georgia’s State Saltwater Fish, the red drum.”