SCDHEC: Shellfish harvesting to reopen in Charleston County

SCDHEC: Shellfish harvesting to reopen in Charleston County

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Following Hurricane Matthew, marine fisheries in the area are in a similar state to that of Oct. 2015.

SCDNR Biologist Dean Cain reported a good mix of salt and fresh water by the lighthouse about four and a half miles south of Georgetown down the bay.

Cain said he traveled 21 miles out before finding what he called, "Good, green sea water." He said salinity levels are a bit better than last year.

The storm displaced many fish up bay to the lower reaches of the bay. He said people were catching large red drum on the jetties Wednesday. Cain saw a large number of Menhaden down bay, which is a good sign.

Many fish are trying to get away from fresh water, looking for salt or brackish water. He said no fish kills were reported, but he would be surprised if there were none up in the rivers.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control announced Thursday shell fish harvesting will reopen in Charleston County after a statewide closure prior to Hurricane Matthew.

"Water quality data indicate that these approved harvesting areas are suitable for harvesting," said Mike Pearson, manager of DHEC's Shellfish Sanitation Section. "This reopening includes the approved shellfish beds between Breach Inlet and Inlet Creek north to Dewees Inlet and Dewees Creek. Also reopening will be the approved areas of the Folly River and its tributaries north to the southern boundary of Lighthouse Creek. At this time these are the only areas statewide that have been reopened for harvesting. The program continues to monitor the shellfish beds and will reopen areas as soon as it is safe to do so."

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