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Nov. 1 - Jones Pushing to Get Georgia Oysters on the Menu with Next Legislative Session

Brunswick Business Journal Staff Report
November 1, 2018 - State Representative Jeff Jones is introducing legislation in the 2019 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly that would allow for oyster farming in Georgia - currently the state only allows harvesting of wild oysters.
“In the past couple of months, an incredible amount of progress has been made to change Georgia’s rules and regulations to allow oyster farming in Georgia and grow a commercially viable and profitable oyster industry,” said Rep. Jones. “By allowing and supporting oyster farming in Georgia, our state has the potential to create a multi-million dollar Georgia Grown oyster industry in a few short years. It’s exciting to be a part of this private sector, commercial oyster industry effort.”
Rep. Jones co-hosted a stakeholder meeting on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at the Coastal Region Commission in Darien. Experts from Georgia Shellfish Growers Association, and other key seafood producers, Georgia DNR's Coastal Resources Division, Georgia's Department of Agriculture, UGA's Marine Extension Service and Sea Grant, and Skidaway Shellfish Research Lab, One Hundred Miles environmental group, Altamaha Riverkeepers, McIntosh County's Industrial Development Authority and Chamber of Commerce gathered to discuss Georgia’s current oyster and shellfish industry and potential legislation for the upcoming 2019 legislative session.
“With the help and support of all these groups and individuals, we are going to move this effort forward in 2019,” said Jones. “I also presented an overview of this initiative at the House Rural Development Council meeting that was held recently in Glynn County. This initiative will grow private sectors jobs on Georgia’s coast and will have statewide economic impact.”
There are currently 10 commercially licensed oyster harvesters in the state that can only harvest wild oysters. The proposed legislation seeks to allow commercial harvesters to build a sustainable farming industry that is safe for consumers and the environment and would regulate aquaculture equipment and how waterways can be used for commercial farming. Rep. Jones predicts, “Oyster aquaculture will be huge for Georgia.”

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