2014 - 2015 Saltwater Fishing Regulations - Crab, Lobster & Shellfish

Crustacean & Shellfish Methods & Devices

When fishing for crustaceans or shellfish, a Saltwater Recreational Fishing License is required - unless you are using 3 or fewer drop nets, 3 or fewer fold up traps, or 3 or fewer handlines with no hooks and a single bait per line (chicken necking); or shrimp baiting (which requires a shrimp baiting license).

Crab Pots

Permits/Licenses

Saltwater Recreational Fishing License required.

Restrictions

Shellfish (Oysters, Clams, Mussels, Whelks, and other Mollusks)

Permits/Licenses

Saltwater Recreational Fishing License required.

Season

Typically open Oct. 1 through May 15 (½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset.) Call 843-953-9300 for season dates.

Restrictions

Maps of areas where shellfish may be gathered in season for recreation may be found on the web at www.dnr.sc.gov, by calling 843-953-9854 or by writing Marine Resources at PO Box 12559, Charleston, SC 29422.

Shell Recycling

Oyster shells are collected throughout the coastal area and reused for maintenance of public grounds. Call 843-953-9300 for shell drop-off site locations, or visit www.saltwaterfishing.sc.gov/oyster.html for detailed maps of locations.

Crab, Lobster & Shellfish

Species Closed Season Possession & Size Limit Restrictions
Blue Crabs   Size Limit: 5-inch minimum carapace width (point to point)
  • Females with egg mass (sponge) must be returned to water unharmed immediately.
Stone Crabs   Size Limit: Claws must be 2 3/4-inch minimum forearm (propodus)
  • Only crabs with 2 claws can have one removed.
  • Only the larger of the 2 claws may be kept.
  • No claw may be removed from a female with egg mass.
  • It is unlawful to possess any stone crab body live or dead.
Spiny Lobster   Possession Limit: 2 per person per day

Size Limit: 3-inch minimum carapace
  • Removal of tail at sea prohibited.
  • No harvest of berried females.
  • No explosives, poisons, spears, or piercing devices other than fishing hooks are allowed.
Oysters Typically closed May 16 – Sept. 30; may be shortened or extended by the SCDNR. Call 843-953-9300 for season dates. Possession Limit: 2 U.S. bushels per person per day from public or state shellfish grounds; No boat, vehicle, or boat/vehicle combination may contain more then 3 personal limits regardless of the number of people on the boat or in the vehicle.
  • A person may recreationally harvest shellfish (oysters and/or clams) no more than 2 days per 7 day period.
Clams Typically closed May 16 – Sept. 30; may be shortened or extended by the SCDNR. Call 843-953-9300 for season dates. Possession Limit: 1/2 U.S. bushel per person per day from public or state shellfish grounds; No boat, vehicle, or boat/ vehicle combination may contain more then 3 personal limits regardless of the number of people on the boat or in the vehicle.
Size Limit: 1-inch minimum thickness
  • A person may recreationally harvest shellfish (oysters and/or clams) no more than 2 days per 7 day period.

The Crab, Lobster and Shellfish information above is found in the 2014-2015 Saltwater Regulations which is available in the Adobe® Acrobat® (PDF) format.