Public meeting set for new shellfish gear, leases

Floating cages
Brunswick, Ga.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources will host a virtual town hall meeting to receive public input on a newly proposed mariculture zone for oyster farming in Coastal Georgia at 6 pm. Thursday, March 18, 2021.

DNR’s Coastal Resources Division (CRD) will present an overview of the shellfish program, describe mariculture in subtidal leasing areas, and provide examples of equipment that may be permitted in Georgia for the first time. Subtidal mariculture involves the use of floating gear such as bags or cages that remain at the top of the water column while anchored to the bottom. This allows oysters to remain submerged in the part of the water column most suitable for their growth.

Many other states, including neighboring South Carolina and Florida, already use floating gear to farm oysters in estuaries. Under Georgia law signed in 2019, qualified individuals may lease subtidal water bottoms from the state to raise oysters for commercial production.

CRD seeks to classify a 120-acre mariculture zone in Mud River, 800 feet west of Sapelo Island. A mariculture zone would sustain multiple subtidal leases within one designated area. Phase 1 of the leasing process will look to provide three new 10-acre leases to qualified individuals. The upcoming virtual town hall meeting is an opportunity for the public to learn about this new-to-Georgia equipment and provide input on the location, size, and use of this proposed mariculture zone.

This virtual town hall will be held via Zoom online. To participate, visit the case-sensitive URL and click “Launch Meeting.” Participants will need to have the free Zoom software installed on their computer to participate. To download the software, visit the link above and click “Download Now.”

If you are prompted to enter a Meeting ID, use “848 5257 5934” and Passcode “814224.”

Participants may also join the meeting by telephone. To use your telephone, call 929-205-6099 and enter the Meeting ID and Passcode above. Please note that this meeting will include a visual presentation, so using a computer is preferred.

Discussion will begin at 6 p.m., and virtual attendees can log into the meeting up to 15 minutes early.

Anyone with questions may contact CRD’s Tyler Jones at 912-262-3140 or

Photo courtesy Alabama Marine Extension/SeaGrant