Beginning January 1, 2013, anyone with a valid Georgia fishing license, including those with a Georgia Lifetime Sportsman’s License and a Senior Lifetime License, who wants to fish in saltwater will need a FREE, annual Saltwater Information Program (SIP) 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. Other Saltwater Information Program activities include volunteer fish tagging, a fish carcass donation project, and ongoing creel surveys of anglers and fishing guides.
“This new permit will help us identify individuals who saltwater fish in Georgia so they can be included in catch and effort surveys. We want these surveys to be cost-effective, and we want the results to be as accurate and trustworthy as possible since they are so important to the management process. Georgia’s saltwater anglers can help by complying with this new requirement and by participating in these surveys when contacted,” explained Spud Woodward, director of the Coastal Resources Division.
The SIP permit is patterned after the successful free Hunter Information Program (HIP) permit, which is required of Georgia hunting license holders who hunt migratory birds. The first SIP permits will be valid from January 1, 2013 until February 28, 2014. After that, the permits will be valid for a 12-month period starting March 1 and expiring on the last day of February the following year. The SIP permit will be available from the same sources as hunting and fishing licenses, and there will be no transaction fee for adding the SIP permit to an existing license.
Georgia saltwater anglers who have a valid fishing license with a SIP permit and who fish in the Atlantic Ocean beyond 3 miles offshore will be exempt from the federal requirement to have a Saltwater Angler Registry permit.
The 2013 SIP permit is available now from any current license vendor or download the permit on the Internet at www.CoastalGaDNR.org/SIP. To locate a license vendor or obtain a SIP permit by telephone, call 1-800-366-2661 (M-F 8am – 8pm; Sat/Sun 9am – 5pm) 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.
If you have questions, please contact GADNR/Coastal Resources Division, at 912-264-7218.