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#06-35 February 13, 2006

Santee, Cooper Rivers blueback herring fishery opens March 1

State natural resources officials have announced the Santee and Cooper rivers’ commercial blueback herring regulations for 2006.

A copy of the complete herring and shad fishing regulations may be obtained by calling the S.C. Department of Natural Resources at the Marine Resources Center at Fort Johnson on James Island in Charleston at (843) 953-9301. Information on licenses may be obtained by calling DNR in Charleston at (843) 953-9309. The information is also available online at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/regs/pdf/nongamefish.pdf.

The Santee River from the Wilson Dam sanctuary buoy line, to Wilson Boat Landing will open to commercial blueback herring fishing from Feb. 15 through April 30, sunrise Mondays to sunset Thursdays. Cast nets and seines will be legal fishing devices.

The Tailrace Canal on the Cooper River and Rediversion Canal on the Santee River will open March 1 to April 30. Herring fishing in the Cooper River’s Tailrace Canal is allowed from the CSX railroad trestle to the Jefferies Power Plant sanctuary line from official sunrise until 10 p.m.

The Rediversion Canal will open for commercial herring fishing from the Santee River to just downstream of the St. Stephen powerhouse from 7 p.m. until midnight Eastern Standard Time (8 p.m. until midnight Daylight Savings Time). Buoys on the bank mark the upstream boundary, and no boats will be allowed beyond this point for any reason. Fishermen should note that legal fishing hours apply to the entire Rediversion Canal rather than just the sanctuary area. Fishing is restricted to drop, cast, and lift nets. Nets must be operated by hand, without the aid of mechanical devices such as winches or outboard motors.

Fishermen are reminded that, while legal fishing times are set by state law, for safety and security reasons, access to and upstream limits of the Rediversion Canal are set by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers policy, and may be changed depending upon conditions. Fishermen will not be permitted upstream of the CSX railroad trestle over the Rediversion Canal before 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (8 p.m. Daylight Savings Time), and must move downstream of the trestle by midnight. Buoy placement may be altered at the discretion of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the DNR at any time.
All commercial fishermen will be required to fill out reporting forms recording their catch and fishing effort pursuant to their commercial license requirements, but may also be interviewed upon landing by DNR personnel regarding their catch and effort expended.

Before landing, all fish except those used for live bait, must be boxed in containers with a maximum capacity of 100 pounds. Sorting, picking, or grading of herring and gizzard shad for size or quality is prohibited. The catch limit is 10 US bushels per boat per day. No harvest may be transferred between boats, and no additional boats may be used to increase a person’s daily take. By-catch of American shad is limited to 10 fish and may not be sold. Shad caught beyond this number should be returned to the water.

Commercial fishermen will need to purchase a commercial saltwater fishing license ($25 resident / $300 non-resident) and an equipment license for each type of gear carried on board, and for each piece of gear being used on board during a trip ($10 resident / $50 non-resident). If fish are being commercially harvested for bait, a bait dealer license should be purchased ($25 resident / $125 non-resident) instead of commercial saltwater fishing license. To sell to the public for human consumption, a fisherman must purchase a wholesale license ($100 resident / $500 non-resident). Fishermen harvesting herring for non-commercial use need only have a freshwater fishing license, but are limited to one bushel.

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