CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Recreational oyster and clam harvesting in South Carolina’s coastal waters is set to open for the season on October 1st.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) said recreational harvesting of shellfish is permitted on all Public Shellfish Grounds and State Shellfish Grounds within areas of open/approved water quality as noted on shellfish maps.
The public can gather shellfish at one of the 20 public or seven state shellfish grounds, which are managed exclusively for recreational harvesting along the coast.
“Recreational harvesters should obtain updated Public or State Shellfish Ground maps at the beginning of each season, as areas open to harvest change from year to year,” said SCDNR.
Recreational harvesters must have a Saltwater Recreational Fishing License. The harvesting limit is two U.S. bushels of oysters and one-half bushel of clams in any one day, limited to two calendar days per seven-day period.
“One U.S. bushel is equal to eight gallons. There is a maximum possession of three personal limits per boat or vehicle. Clams must be at least one inch thick,” DNR said.
SCDNR encourages harvesters to “cull in place,” which means breaking off and leaving dead shell and smaller oysters on the shoreline (and only taking clusters or singles of larger oysters) so they can keep growing and provide habitat for future generations of oysters.
The recreational shellfish season will remain open through May 15, 2024, unless conditions warrant extending or shortening the season.