South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

Dr. Carolyn Belcher

Current Employment/Affiliation:

Dr. Carolyn Belcher is currently the Chief of Marine Fisheries for the Coastal Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.  The Marine Fisheries Section is charged with the management and oversight of recreationally and commercially important marine species as well as enhancing public fishing and boating access opportunities to marine resource users.


Carolyn’s education background includes a BS and MS in Statistical Sciences from the University of Rhode Island. In 1996, she began her career with the State of Georgia as an analytical biologist.  In 2000, she accepted a position with the University of Georgia’s Marine Extension where she worked in the commercial fisheries group. During her time with UGA, she began working on her PhD in Natural Resources, studying shark nurseries in Georgia’s estuaries.  In 2006, she returned to Coastal Resources where she continued her shark nursery study as well as supervising a longline survey for adult Red Drum and coastal sharks. Carolyn was appointed to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee in June 2001 and served as its chair for 6 years during the early years of the Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization. Carolyn has additional fisheries management experience through several technical committees with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and is the state representative for the NOAA Highly Migratory Species’ Advisory Panel.

Fisheries Management Philosophy:

The art of developing sound fisheries conservation methods is predicated on finding the balance between the fish, its habitat, and the human users. Sustainability of resources for current and future use should always be at the heart of our management decisions.  Fishery management cannot be conducted in a vacuum; successful policies require input from the scientists, managers and stakeholders.  Education, communication and transparency are key throughout the process.