Logo graphic for the Coastal Resources Division
Fisheries Management - State

The Coastal Resources Division (CRD) is responsible for managing fisheries in state waters (out to three miles offshore).   State Fisheries Management Plans have been developed for the following species:

Georgia Fishery Management Plans

Blue Crab            Red Drum            Shrimp              Whiting

Cannonball Jellyfish          Sheepshead          Whelk          Spotted Seatrout


Division staff conduct studies and gather data that helps the Department make better management decisions. A brief description of each study can found below.  Please click on the name of the study for more details. 

Fish Tissue Contaminant Sampling

  • Objective:  Collects tissues samples in cooperation with EPD to develop fish consumption recommendations & advisories
  • Duration:  April through August for general contaminants; September through December for mercury trend
  • Gears:  Hook-and-line, trawls, gill nets, trammel nets.
  • Locations:  General contaminants = St. Simons estuary; Mercury trend = Three estuaries samples each year (Wassaw, Altamaha & St. Andrews)
  • Effort: General contaminants: 30 individuals of the target species (Tripletail).  Mercury: 20-30 fish per year (Spotted Seatrout).
  • Objective:  Monitors recruitment of red drum
  • Duration:  June through August
  • Gear:  300 ft single panel gill net
  • Locations:  Wassaw estuary and Altamaha River Delta
  • Effort:  36 gear deployments per month in Wassaw; 36 gear deployments per month in the Altamaha River Delta 

 Estuarine Sportfish Survey

  • Objective:  Monitors abundance, size, and age of multiple species of recreationally important estuarine fish species (e.g. spotted seatrout, red drum)
  • Duration:  September through November
  • Gear:  300 ft trammel net
  • Locations:  Wassaw estuary and Altamaha River Delta
  • Effort:  25 gear deployments per month in each estuary
  • Objective:   Develops index of abundance for adult red drum and sharks           
  • Duration:  April through December
  • Gear:  Half-mile longline with 60 circle-hooks set for 30 minutes
  • Locations:   Atlantic Ocean offshore Georgia and Northeast Florida
  • Effort:  25 gear deployments per month from April through December with 10 deployments monthly in Florida (September – December)

Cooperative Atlantic States Shark Pupping and Nursery Program (COASTSPAN)

  • Objective:  Monitors populations of juvenile and neonatal sharks in Georgia’s estuaries.
  • Duration:  April through September
  • Gear:  1,000-ft longline with 50 small circle-hooks set for 30 minutes
  • Locations:  St. Simons and St. Andrews estuaries
  • Effort:  20 gear deployments per month                     
  • Objective:  Collects basic biological information (length and age) from fish caught by recreational anglers
  • Duration:   All year
  • Method:  Recreational fishers deposit carcasses of filleted fish in chest freezers located at marinas and other fishing access points.
  • Locations:  Coastwide
  • Effort:  17 active sites (freezers).

 Cooperative Angler Tagging Project

  • Objective:  Enlists and trains recreational anglers to tag species of concern to gather information on growth, habitat preference, and movement
  • Duration:  All year
  • Method:  Recreational anglers (hook and line) are trained in proper fish handling and tagging techniques.
  • Locations:  Participants live throughout Georgia
  • Effort:   Two priority species - red drum and tripletail- with no set goal for level of angler participation
  • Objective:  Monitor the movement of coastal impoundments by sportfish including red drum, spotted seatrout, black drum, and atlantic tarpon by mark and recapture with PIT tags.
  • Duration:  Year round
  • Gear:   Autonomous PIT tag logging antenna, 100ft seine, 300 ft trammel net
  • Location:  2 Jekyll Island lagoons, 1 Skidaway Island lagoon
  • Effort:  2-3 gear deployments per month, 3 times a month maintenance of PIT tag receiver equipment
  • Objective:  Tag and monitor tripletail movements with both acoustic transmitter tags and conventional external t-bar tags, to identify habitat utilization, site fidelity, and seasonal movement patterns
  • Duration:  June – October
  • Gear:  Hook and Line for capture and Vemco acoustic receivers for monitoring
  • Location:  Ossabaw Sound
  • Effort:  2-5 fishing days, monthly maintenance of 4-6 receiver devices.
 Ecological Monitoring Survey (Large Trawl Survey)
  • Objective:  Monitors abundance, size, and age of estuarine fish and invertebrates. Information from this survey is used to open and close fishing seasons for shrimp and blue crabs and provide regional fisheries management advice on relative abundance on juvenile fish stocks.
  • Duration:  All year
  • Gear:  40 ft otter trawl.
  • Locations:  Six estuarine systems: Wassaw, Ossabaw, Sapelo, St. Simons, St. Andrew, Cumberland
  • Effort:  42 gear deployments per month.
Bycatch Observer Studies
  • Objective: Characterize and quantify bycatch associated with the cannonball jellyfish trawl fishery in Georgia
  • Duration: All Year
  • Method: Fishery observers accompany commercial fishermen to record information on targeted and non-targeted species captured during fishing activities.
  • Locations: Coastal Georgia waters
  • Effort: No set amount but typically target 3-5% of reported trips in or adjacent to Georgia's territorial waters
  • Objective:  Monitors abundance of juvenile estuarine fish and invertebrates in primary nursery habitat
  • Duration:  All year
  • Gear:  20 ft otter trawl.
  • Locations:  Ossabaw and Altamaha
  • Effort:  12 gear deployments per month
  • Objective:  Monitors the abundance, size, and age of yellow stage American eels in coastal Georgia as mandated by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Eel.
  • Duration:  Fall, Winter, Spring
  • Gear: Eel traps
  • Locations:  Altamaha river
  • Effort:  Monthly between October and April

 Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP)

  • Objective:  Surveys anglers and saltwater fishing guides to determine catch and effort
  • Duration:  March through December
  • Method:  Creel clerks interview anglers at boat ramps, docks, head boats, and charter captains to gather general biological data and catch and effort data.
  • Locations:  Coast wide
  • Effort:  330 fishing access site assignments per year
  • Objective:  Collects dockside samples from the commercial fishers targeting offshore species such as the snapper and grouper complex
  • Duration:  All year
  • Locations:  Atlantic Ocean – South Atlantic Bight.
  • Method:  Staff visits commercial docks to intercept fishing boats
  • Effort:  2 sampling events per month, at least 10% of all trips per year.
Seafood Harvest Reporting (Cooperative Statistics Program)
  • Objective:  Gathers catch, effort, and value information for every commercial fishing trip in Georgia as mandated by the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
  • Duration:  All year
  • Method:  Fishers report catch and effort information using electronic or paper forms provided by CRD
  • Locations:  Coast wide
  • Effort:  Goal is 100% reporting of all commercial seafood harvest
  • Objective:  Collects, processes, evaluates, and preserves ageing structures from priority fish species
  • Methods:  Anatomical structures are evaluated using established procedures with the aid of a computer-based image analysis system.
  • Effort:  Determines age for all samples collected in previous fiscal year
Stock Assessments
  • Objective:  Assists in the production of federal and regional assessments, and produce state-specific assessments for important commercial and recreational species in Coastal Georgia.
  • Effort: Liaisons with the National Marine Fisheries Service to review stock assessments for federally managed species.  Prepares data sets for upcoming regional and state stock assessments