Today kicks off the official start to the ’23-’24 Charleston shellfish season, which runs from sunrise on Oct 1st through May 15th, 2024.
Recreational harvesting is permitted on all Public Shellfish Grounds and State Shellfish Grounds within areas of open/approved water quality as noted on shellfish maps.
This season, the South Carolina Department of Environmental Control is warning about potential shellfish beds closures due to weather conditions in order to prevent the risk of bacterial contamination. Officials explain that bacteria is more commonly found in warmer weather or water conditions, but they assure that it does not pose a threat to the Lowcountry’s harvesting season.
To guarantee the safety of the shellfish consumed, growing areas are classified every year, and open and closed areas may change accordingly. This classification process aims to ensure that all shellfish served on tables are safe to eat. Mike Marshall, the Shellfish State Program manager, emphasizes the importance of this process.
To harvest shellfish safely, it is crucial to stay informed. Regularly check for closures and advisories from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the South Carolina Department of Environmental Control. Additionally, if you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact these departments for clarification.