Gov. Mark Sanford and the S.C. General Assembly have extended the law limiting the harvest of Arkansas blue catfish in the waters of Lake Marion, the Diversion Canal, the Rediversion Canal above St. Stephen Dam, and Lake Moultrie.

Originally signed into law in 2007, this bill will be extended for three years with consideration for renewal in 2013.

The law limits the catch of Arkansas blue catfish to one fish 36 inches and larger per person per day, regardless of harvest method. This includes bow fishing and applies to both recreational and commercial anglers.

The original law was instituted to address catfish anglers' perception that large blue catfish numbers had declined as the popularity of angling these large fish had grown over the past decade. The catfish family has become the most sought-after fish in the Santee Cooper chain.

The extension of this law is expected to continue to shift the majority of the large blue catfish harvest to recreational rod and reel anglers, whose tourism dollars add considerably more to the local economy than do other users of the resource.

There continues to be no harvest restrictions on blue catfish less than 36 inches.