Oyster season closes May 15; clam season to close May 31
South Carolina’s oyster season closes on Saturday, May 15 according to S.C. Department of Natural Resources officials. Clam season will be extended another two weeks and close on Monday, May 31.
Clam season will close at one-half hour after official sunset. Find out more about shellfish harvesting regulations. Coastal waters will remain closed to recreational and commercial shellfish harvesting for clams and oysters until the fall when water temperatures and weather conditions warrant the shellfish suitable for harvesting.
According to Mel Bell, S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Office of Fisheries Management director: "Early indications from our commercial harvesters point to a another successful season, with more local single oysters being put into the market." DNR maintains 59 State Shellfish Grounds for commercial and recreational harvesting of clams and oysters. Twenty Public Shellfish Grounds are managed exclusively for recreational gathering.
DNR’s Shellfish Recycling and Replanting Program continues efforts to encourage the public to recycle their oyster shells. Currently, 22 oyster shell recycling drop-off locations are located throughout coastal counties, and collection sites can be found online. DNR refurbishes and sustains harvestable shellfish grounds with recycled oyster shells during the summer. Replanting shells is part of the cycle for maintaining the resource by providing a substrate for larval oysters to attach. When the quantity needed to refurbish these areas falls short of those that are recycled in statewide collection bins, DNR must purchase shells from other vendors. Funding for DNR’s shellfish restoration and enhancement efforts is provided by a portion of Saltwater Recreational Fishing License funds.
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