Tag Archives: S.C. Department of Natural Resources

Beaufort County fish whisperer retires with this advice on Lowcountry living

Al Stokes is a rare Lowcountry fish who’s finally getting away. He retired Friday as executive director of the Waddell Mariculture Center, an aquaculture research center on a sweeping bend of the Colleton River in Bluffton. Stokes has been there since the beginning, from the time the first water samples and soil samples were taken in late 1979. He was there as $4 million was invested in ponds, a few buildings and a hatchery that was dedicated in 1984 to a humming speech from the late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond.,,, Cut this out and put it on your refrigerator: Save the Lowcountry “It’s ours,” Stokes said. Video >click to read<11:24

Blame the cold winter: There’s still no date for the opening of South Carolina shrimp season

South Carolina’s commercial shrimp season — already nearly a month behind its average opening date — might not open any time soon. The bright spot is that a delayed spring season usually turns into a good fall catch. S.C. Department of Natural Resources biologists began another round of sample trawls Tuesday checking whether the spring shrimp had spawned and whether the summer crop had grown to good size. Off Charleston, they found a mixed net.,,, Shem Creek shrimper Tommy Edwards, who took the biologists offshore, still found a reason for some optimism. >click to read<12:46

Cold waters, few shrimp means delay in South Carolina season opening

Two years ago, Greg Herald and two partners decided to try to beat the odds. They bought a shrimp boat and began working from Shem Creek. They wanted to become part of the traditional Lowcountry fleet that is struggling just to hang on. Today, the partnership has liquidated. The veteran commercial fisherman among them, Vince Shavender, has gone home to North Carolina. Herald plans to continue selling shrimp from a roadside stand — local catch if he can get it. But last year he traveled as far as North Carolina and Georgia to find enough to sell. The third partner, who bought out the boat, didn’t return phone messages asking if he is still in the shrimping business. >click to read<10:32

‘Phenomenal’ shrimp season still playing out in the Lowcountry

It’s the cold end of January and that means the end of commercial shrimping is..umm..maybe not even going to happen. It’s phenomenal, said Mel Bell, S.C. Department of Natural Resources fisheries management director. “This is the latest I’ve heard us close. The size they’re bringing in out there we’ve never seen before” this time of year, he said. Not only that, but “provisional” waters will remain open another week. Those are waters roughly beyond two miles out, between the nearshore state waters and federal waters even farther out. And federal waters don’t close at all unless it’s a bad winter. Lowcountry boats have been slaying them in those provisional and federal waters. “Definitely,” said Shem Creek shrimper Tommy Edwards, who has been pulling in shrimp so big they’re weighing out at 13 to the pound. “We’re doing better now than we were when the season was going strong. Right now we’re looking at shrimping all the way through February. We’re not going to close if conditions are right.” Read the story here 13:40

Shrimp size on the rise after Hurricane Matthew

580e3b33ae227-imageIn the midst of fallen trees and other debris, Hurricane Matthew left a sweet little calling card: shrimp, big ones. The storm’s rain and river flooding evidently washed large white shrimp out to the commercial grounds offshore, at least in spots, and some commercial boats are reporting some of the biggest shrimp of the season, hoisting their optimism in a year that’s had its ups and downs. The current cold snap evidently slowed down the catch somewhat. But shrimpers expect it to come back and are looking forward to another big run before frigid winter weather sets in. Shem Creek shrimper Tommy Edwards didn’t net much offshore on Monday, after pulling in hundreds of pounds per day on recent trips. But he expected that to change mid-week, and “the big white shrimp are looking beautiful right now,” he said. “Oh yeah, they’re gorgeous,” Tina Toomer of the Bluffton Oyster Co., said about the catch her husband, Larry Toomer, has been bringing in. Read the story here 13:58

South Carolina’s commercial shrimp trawling season opens Monday

sc shrimp dmrIn the wake of South Carolina’s historic rainfall event in October 2015, fishermen and biologists were unsure how the unprecedented influx of freshwater would impact the state’s shrimp fishery. Now, local shrimp are back on the menu and contrary to early concerns, S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologists are expecting a productive year, with models predicting the largest roe white shrimp crop since 1979. The commercial shrimp trawling season will open in all state waters where trawling is legal at 8 a.m. Monday. Shrimp season normally opens in mid to late May, after the peak spawning period of white shrimp has occurred. Eight smaller provisional areas opened in early April. Several key factors have contributed to 2016’s record shrimp stocks, according to DNR biologists. Read the rest here 23:30

Mass starfish stranding reported on Fripp Island

The stranding of thousands of starfish on Fripp Island was likely due to Wednesday’s stormy weather, according to a marine veterinarian. George Sedberry, a science coordinator in national Office of Marine Sanctuaries, said he has not studied this stranding but offered other possible explanations for the sea stars’ deaths. (You know where this is going, right?) Read the rest here 13:31

USCB, DNR to study toxic effects of rainfall in coastal SC waters

USCB and DNR have purchased equipment that will be stationed at various spots throughout the waterways for a year. The devices, to be deployed in about a week, will let researchers measure rainfall amounts, water temperature, water salinity and chemicals, Montie said. The study comes in the wake of a massive die-off of the county’s oyster population in recent weeks. Environmental officials and fishermen have said that as much as 75 to 90 percent of the oysters are dead. [email protected] 10:59

Newly discovered shark patrols SC waters – The “Carolina hammerhead”

COLUMBIA, SC —  Scientists have discovered a new species of shark in the ocean off South Carolina and have named it for the region where it was found. The “Carolina hammerhead,” thought to reach 11 feet long and weigh about 400 pounds, has been identified cruising the waters at Bull’s Bay north of Charleston, St. Helena Sound near Beaufort and in the Charleston harbor. [email protected]

Commercial shrimp season opened today; Beaufort Co. shrimpers optimistic

The commercial trawling season for white roe shrimp opens today in South Carolina waters, according to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. DNR decides when to open the season based on factors such as spawning, growth and weather.The past few months have been unusually cool, slowing shrimp growth, according to Mel Bell, director of the Office of Fisheries Management. But the shrimp, although slightly smaller than usual, are spawning on schedule, he said. continued