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Sunday, April 1, 2012 - 11:00pm

Lawmakers Pass Crabbing Restrictions

Georgia lawmakers have passed a bill aimed at helping the state's struggling blue crab population.

The legislation would cap the number of commercial crabbing licenses at 100, down from 138.

State Representative Alex Atwood of Brunswick sponsored the bill.

"We hope the blue crab population will return, we're all pushing for that," Atwood says. "We're all working together to try to return blue crabs to the prominence that particular industry enjoyed in years past."

He says, it's the second time officials have cut back on crab harvesting licenses.

"This decision was made in an effort to reduce fishing effort on a depleted blue crab population," Atwood says. "Although the blue crab population thankfully has improved in recent years, it remains well below the historical levels of abundance."

Atwood says, the state's blue crab population never recovered from a a multi-year drought that ended 10 years ago.

There are currently about 80 people who depend on crabbing for their livelihood in Georgia.

The bill passed the General Assembly on its final day.