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Crustaceans & Shellfish Regulations, Size & Catch Limits

Hunting Regulations Icon South Carolina Hunting & Fishing

 

TL=Total Length, FL=Fork Length.

AIW=Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway; State Waters extend from the saltwater-freshwater dividing line to the 3-mile limit. Federal Waters extend from the 3-mile limit to 200 miles offshore (international waters).

Up to date fishing regulations can be found on the SCDNR website at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/regs/saltwaterfish.html.

All species in this section must be landed with head and tail intact.

An operator or crew member onboard a for-hire or commercial vessel must have a valid Operator Card when underway fishing for Dolphin/Wahoo.

These species are also managed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) in federal waters. Regulations may change. Please contact the SAFMC at 843-571-4366 or www.safmc.net to get the most up to date regulations on these species.

The harvest and possession of coastal migratory pelagic species by commercial and recreational fishermen will be limited to the recreational bag limit within the Special Management Zones.

Species

Closed Season

Possession & Size Limit

Restrictions

Crab, Lobster and Shellfish

Blue Crabs Size Limit: 5-inch minimum carapace width (point to point)
  • Females with egg mass (sponge) must be returned to water unharmed immediately.
Stone Crabs Size Limit: Claws must be 2 3/4-inch minimum forearm (propodus)
  • Only crabs with 2 claws can have one removed.
  • Only the larger of the 2 claws may be kept.
  • No claw may be removed from a female with egg mass.
  • It is unlawful to possess any stone crab body live or dead.
Spiny Lobster Possession Limit: 2 per person per day

Size Limit: 3-inch minimum carapace

  • Removal of tail at sea prohibited.
  • No harvest of berried females.
  • No explosives, poisons, spears, or piercing devices other than fishing hooks are allowed.
Oysters Typically closed May 16 – Sept. 30; may be shortened or extended by the SCDNR. Call 843-953-9300 for season dates. Possession Limit: 2 US bushels per person per day from public or state shellfish grounds; No boat, vehicle, or boat/vehicle combination may contain more then 3 personal limits regardless of the number of people on the boat or in the vehicle
  • A person may recreationally harvest shellfish (oysters and/or clams) no more than 2 days per 7 day period.
Clams Typically closed May 16 – Sept. 30; may be shortened or extended by the SCDNR. Call 843-953-9300 for season dates. Possession Limit: 1/2 US bushel per person per day from public or state shellfish grounds; No boat, vehicle, or boat/vehicle combination may contain more then 3 personal limits regardless of the number of people on the boat or in the vehicle.
Size Limit: 1-inch minimum thickness
  • A person may recreationally harvest shellfish (oysters and/or clams) no more than 2 days per 7 day period.

Shrimp

Taking Shrimp Without Bait Closed: Dec. 16 – Apr. 30 48 quarts whole or 29 quarts headed per day (sunrise to sunrise) per boat, per person if no boat is used, or per seining party
  • 12 dozen dead or live shrimp allowed per boat during closed season.
  • See Crustacean and Shellfish Methods and Devices for Shrimp Seine Gear Restrictions (see above).
Shrimp Baiting 2018 Shrimp baiting season Sept. 7 (Noon) – Nov. 6 (Noon) 48 quarts whole or 29 quarts headed per day (sunrise to sunrise) per set of poles
  • Participants must have a shrimp baiting license.
  • License holders, while shrimping from a boat, may be assisted by a resident who is not required to have a shrimp baiting license.
  • Shrimp caught over bait cannot be sold.
  • No more than 10 poles can be used per license per day. Poles must be marked with reflective tape and may not exceed 1-inch in diameter and each pole must have a numbered tag attached which corresponds with the shrimp baiting license.
  • No more than 10 poles can be used per boat.
  • All poles of a licensed set must be within 100 linear yards of each other and sets of poles must be at least 25 yards apart. Poles may not be set within 50 yards of any dock, public landing or boat ramp. Unattended poles will be confiscated.
  • Owners of private docks or persons with written permission may bait from those docks once properly licensed and with numbered tag displayed.
  • Shrimp pots or traps are prohibited.
  • Cast nets used for taking shrimp over bait must have a minimum mesh size of 1/2-inch square (1-inch stretch).
  • Individuals who may NOT obtain a shrimp baiting license are: 1) owners or officers of a corporation which owns a vessel specified on a trawl license; 2) masters of a vessel specified on a trawl license; 3) licensed to use a channel net; 4) licensed to use a cast net for a commercial purpose; 5) licensed as a wholesale seafood dealer.