** Archived Article - please check for current information. **
May 8, 2012
Oyster season closes May 15, clam season to close May 31
South Carolina’s oyster season will close on May 15 according to S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials. Clam season will close on Thursday, May 31. Shellfish harvesting is expected to reopen October 1, 2012. Because of higher bacterial levels that occur when water temperature is above 80 degrees, shellfish harvesting is prohibited during the summer months.
Clam season will close at one-half hour after official sunset. Find out more about shellfish harvesting regulations (PDF file). 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.
DNR maintains 72 State Shellfish Grounds for commercial and recreational harvesting of clams and oysters. Twenty Public Shellfish Grounds are managed exclusively for recreational gathering. Each year there are approximately three million dollars worth of wild stock oysters and clams landed in the states commercial shellfish fishery alone.
DNR’s Shellfish Recycling and Replanting Program continues its efforts to encourage the public to recycle their oyster shells. Oyster shell recycling drop-off locations are located throughout coastal counties. 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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