From our friends at the Coastal Conservation League …
Nothing says the start of the holiday season in the Lowcountry more than enjoying a bushel of local oysters with friends and family.
Harvesting Your Own Oysters – Best Practices
So, you’re interested in harvesting your own oysters? Think they taste better knowing you, individually, hand-selected your own clusters? I don’t blame you. Here are a few key rules to know before you go!
- Buy a saltwater fishing license – Money from these licenses goes back into restoring and conserving our marine resources.
- Check the recreational shellfish map – Ensure you are harvesting in an area where it is allowed and safe.
- Cull in place – Bring the proper equipment to break off any dead shells and smaller oysters from your clusters. They will provide habitat for future oysters to grow.
- Know your limits – Two bushels of oysters in one day, limited to two calendar days per seven-day period. One bushel is equal to 8 gallons. There is a maximum possession of three personal limits per boat or vehicle.
Recycling Your Oyster Shell
You’re done with your backyard oyster roast, and you’ve heard about the importance of the shell going back into our waterways to create habitat for future oysters to grow. So, you’re going to go to your closest waterway and dump the shell yourself, right? Wrong! This is illegal and can harm local oysters by spreading diseases.
While we think we may know where and how to place these oyster shells in our creeks, it’s best to leave that to the biologists. Recycle your shell at one of these SCDNR oyster shell recycling locations. Biologists will quarantine your shell to prevent the spread of any diseases, and then the shell will be replanted on our shorelines to ensure the maximum benefit not only for our future oysters but for our shorelines as well.
What if I prefer to eat my oysters at a restaurant?
Be an informed consumer by asking your local restaurant if they recycle their oyster shells—applauding them if they do and encouraging them to do so if they don’t. You can also view a current list of participating restaurants here.
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