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Thursday, October 13, 2011 - 11:40am

State Restocks Ogeechee

The state put hundreds of thousands of fish into the Ogeechee River this week in southwest Georgia. The move follows a major fish kill last spring, but some worry the restocking is premature.

Bait and tackle shop owner Jimmy Hendrix from Statesboro, whose business has suffered since the kill, thinks the restocking is too soon.

"Sure everyone is excited about getting some fish back in the river but I think it had been better if they’d waited to get more water before they did it," says Hendrix.

The river is low from the drought, but the Department of Natural Resources says its testing indicates the river will support the fish.

Hendrix says he’s still concerned about the textile company King America Finishing’s discharges. The EPD concluded the plant had been illegally polluting the river in an investigation after the fish kill.

"We’ve got a long way to go before people have the confidence to go back and fish in it," says Hendrix.

The state’s fisheries chief John Biagi says the restocking costs about $38,000.

"Right now it’s coming out of our operations budget for the fishery section. We’re certainly considering or evaluating our options to find funding from King Finishing."