Marine - Shellfish

Commercial Harvest

Provided by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Office of Fisheries Management, Shellfish Management Program.

License Requirements:

Commercial harvest of shellfish in South Carolina requires:

Harvesting area:

Shellfish may be harvested commercially from State Shellfish Grounds and Culture Permits, with the required licenses and permits (see above). Shellfish may NOT be harvested commercially on Public Shellfish grounds. A list of State Shellfish Grounds (PDF) open to commercial harvest is available here. Maps of State Shellfish Grounds open to commercial harvest are available at the Marine Permitting Office, 217 Fort Johnson Road, James Island. Harvesting on Culture Permits requires a permit from the Marine Permitting Office and permission from the Culture Permit Holder.

Status of Shellfish Grounds:

Closed - SCDHEC:

Some State Shellfish Grounds and Public Shellfish Grounds have been closed by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control because of elevated fecal coliforms bacteria. These areas should be posted with yellow warning signs.

Conditional - SCDHEC:

Some State Shellfish Grounds may be closed temporarily by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control because of elevated coliform bacteria caused by heavy rainfall. Conditional areas are not always posted with white warning signs. Check with SCDHEC at 1-800-285-1618 before harvesting.

Season:

October 1 through May 15, unless conditions warrant shortening or extending the season. Check your local newspaper or call the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources at (843) 953-9300.

It is illegal to harvest shellfish between 1/2 hour after official sunset and 1/2 hour before official sunrise.

Limit on Catch:

There is no commercial harvest limit for shellfish.

Gear Restrictions:

It is unlawful to use scoops, scrapes tongs, or dredges to take shellfish without a permit. Permits are obtained from the Marine Division Permitting Office at Fort Johnson.

Sale of Catch:

Commercial shellfish harvesters must either possess a Wholesale Seafood Dealers License or must sell their product through a licensed Dealer.

Contact Information:

Commercial License Office (843) 953-9301

Permitting Office (843) 953-9311

The Summary of Laws for Commerical Shellfishing with Legal References are available in the Adobe PDF file format. Adobe® Reader® is required to open the files and is available as a free download from the Adobe® Web site.

Note: The above document is a summary of the laws; the actual laws can be found in the SC Code of Laws, Title 50 Chapter 5.