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New free saltwater fishing permits available

POSTED: March 3, 2014 10:26 p.m.

Anyone with a valid Georgia fishing license, including lifetime and senior license holders, who wants to fish in saltwater needs a free, annual saltwater information program permit. The SIP permit is part of a comprehensive effort by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to collect timely and accurate data from saltwater anglers for use in resource management.

Current SIP permits have expired. New permits are available and will be valid until the end of February 2015.

“Since Georgia’s fishing license is good for freshwater and saltwater fishing, we needed a tool to identify individuals who saltwater fish in Georgia so they can be included in catch and effort surveys,” said Spud Woodward, director of the Coastal Resources Division. “We need these surveys to be cost-effective, and we want the results to be as accurate and trustworthy as possible given their importance in the management process. Georgia’s saltwater anglers can help by complying with this requirement and by participating in these surveys when contacted.”

The SIP permit is patterned after the hunter information program permit, which is required of Georgia hunting license holders who hunt migratory birds. Like HIP permits, SIP permits are valid for a 12-month period starting March 1 and expiring on the last day of February the following year. SIP permits are available from the same sources as hunting and fishing licenses, and there is no transaction fee for adding the SIP permit to an existing license.

During its first year of implementation in 2013, more than 224,000 anglers obtained a SIP permit.

Georgia saltwater anglers who have a valid fishing license with a SIP permit and who fish in the Atlantic Ocean beyond 3 miles offshore remain exempt from the federal requirement to have a Saltwater Angler Registry permit.

As of March 1, the SIP permit will be available from any current license vendor or can be downloaded from the Internet at www.CoastalGaDNR.org/SIP. To locate a license vendor or obtain a SIP permit by telephone, call 1-800-366-2661 Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-8p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., or visit the Web site. Anglers who hold a lifetime or senior license can also print a paper version of the SIP permit from the Web site.

For more information, contact the Coastal Resources Division at (912) 264-7218.

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