Proposed S.C. summer shellfish harvesting regulations could have - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Proposed S.C. summer shellfish harvesting regulations could have local impact

DHEC is gathering public comments pertaining to proposed changes to summer shellfish harvesting. (Source: WMBF News) DHEC is gathering public comments pertaining to proposed changes to summer shellfish harvesting. (Source: WMBF News)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC ( WMBF) - Most of the oysters eaten during the summer along the Grand Strand are not from local fisherman.

During the summer, shellfish harvesting is prohibited.

However, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control plans to gather public comments as it moves toward making proposed changes to summer shellfish harvesting. 

"I got in this business about 40 years ago, it's been that way," said Ted "Mr. Fish" Hammerman, owner of Mr. Fish Restaurant and Seafood Market. 

DHEC is considering making amendments to the regulations that haven't been updated for years. Many local businesses purchase their supply outside the area during the summer months.

Owners of some of the raw oyster bars in Myrtle Beach and Murrells Inlet said they just buy from other areas all year long because it is more convenient. 

Many receive their shipment from Bulls Bay, a specific area designated by DHEC a shellfish harvesting region. 

"We source from other areas. We get shellfish from Alabama. We also buy product out of Virginia," Hammerman said.

The proposed amendments would provide specific criteria for the harvesting and handling of molluscan shellfish during months that require additional controls, such as the warmer months of the year. The reason for the specific criteria is to protect the health of shellfish consumers. 

DHEC officials said molluscan shellfish harvested during times of the year with warmer water and air temperatures have been shown to have a higher risk of vibro bacteria-related illnesses. 

Therefore, the the harvesting and handling criteria for molluscan shellfish during months that require additional controls will be more restrictive than the harvesting and handling criteria in place during the cooler months. 

The proposed additional controls are likely to include, but are not limited to, the harvest time of day and the time allowed from harvest to refrigeration.

DHEC is hosting a series of public input meetings to get feedback from the public and those in the industry about the proposed changes.

A meeting was held in Charleston on Thursday at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Marine Resources Research Institute Laboratory.

The next meeting is Wednesday, July 20, at 6 p.m., at the Technical College of the Lowcountry Auditorium in MacLean Hall. The school is located at 921 Ribuat Road in Beaufort. 

Copyright 2016 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly