CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The 2019-2020 harvesting of shellfish from state and public shellfish grounds will end with the month of May, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
When water temperatures exceed 80 degrees, bacteria levels can rise, thus contaminating oysters, mussels, clams, and other bivalves. To prevent illness, DNR says that only “commercial harvesters who can meet rigorous handling requirements” are permitted to harvest in the summer months.
Public harvesting is expected to reopen in October, when temperatures are cooler.
While public harvesting is closed, the SC Oyster Recycling and Enhancement (SCORE) program returns “recycled shells to shorelines, where they provide an ideal base for juvenile oysters to attack and grow, thereby replenishing harvested beds.”