Fisheries/Living Marine Resource Program
The SCSGEP Fisheries/Living Marine Resource Program’s goal is to develop and provide science-based information and solutions that address the socio-economic, regulatory, research, and technology transfer issues facing South Carolina’s commercial/recreational fisheries and living marine resources in support of economically and environmentally sustainable fisheries and fishing communities. Objectives include:
1. Maintain a fundamental capability to identify and address issues of importance to living marine resources in state and federal waters off of South Carolina.
South Carolina Fisheries – Brief Overview South Carolina contains 2,876 miles of tidal shoreline, 10,000 square miles of continental shelf, 500,000 acres of tidal bottoms, and 504,450 acres of salt marsh (representing 20 percent of the East Coast total). In addition, its coastline is characterized by over 165 linear miles of beaches and dotted with more than 40 barrier and sea islands. Five major estuaries help drain major watersheds originating from as far away as western North Carolina. The dense areas of highly fertile salt marsh surrounding these estuaries and scattered barrier islands along the coastline provide a favorable habitat for many important commercial and recreational species during their juvenile and adult life stages. The commercial shrimp fishery is the largest and most economically valuable commercial fishery in South Carolina. South Carolina’s offshore features also serve to support and sustain many resident and migratory fisheries species. Structural features on the continental shelf include natural hard bottoms as well as 37 artificial reefs and five major shipwrecks. The Charleston Bump, a unique habitat located southeast of Charleston on the Blake Plateau, deflects the Gulf Stream offshore in the South Atlantic Bight resulting in ocean upwelling that brings nutrients to the surface waters. This increases the primary productivity of South Carolina’s coastal ocean waters, supporting and concentrating a food chain from zooplankton to small fish to commercially and recreationally important reef and pelagic fish that prey on them.
2. Integrate multi-disciplinary approaches to extension programming in regards to ecosystem based approaches to management of living marine resources.
3. Identify, develop, and deliver scientifically based information on critical living marine resource issues, through an enhancement of information, research, and technology exchange, productive interactions, and program coordination among Sea Grant programs, state and federal fisheries managers, Universities, and the commercial/recreational fishing industries in state and federal waters off of South Carolina and the region.
White Shrimp graph
Brown Shrimp graph
Examples of How We Work:
South Carolina Shrimp Fishery Assistance Project (SCSFA)
South Carolina Shrimp Fishery Assistance Project (SCSFA)
SC MarketMaker: Helping fishermen market seafood products
South Atlantic Sea Grant Fisheries Extension & Enhancement Initiative
Educational Seminar on Shrimp Fishery Management Plan Amendment
Marine Debris Removal - Clean Marine Project
The SCSFA project developed as a result of an in response to collaborative efforts with the South Carolina commercial shrimp industry. South Carolina Sea Grant hosted a forum in 2002 bringing together commercial shrimp fishermen, University researchers and extension agents, and state/federal management agencies to discuss strategies for saving the commercial shrimp industry in the state. Coincidentally, federal funding was awarded for economic assistance to the ailing industry. The industry then formed a Shrimp Industry Task Force, which would be facilitated by Clemson University and Extension Service, to address the growing need for research, education, and marketing efforts to create a sustainable shrimp fishery in S.C. The task force brought together partners to include:
• Shrimp fishermen
Federal funds were allocated for research aimed at economics, niche marketing, travel and tourism marketing, packaging and infrastructure support, and quality assurance. Additionally, education projects involved hiring a fisheries specialist through the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, shrimp festival development, hiring a shrimp quality extension associate through Clemson Extension, and participation in the Trade Adjustment Assistance program for shrimp fishermen. See the following website for additional information and research reports:
• Dock owners
• S.C. Shrimpers Association
• S.C. Seafood Alliance
• Southern Shrimp Alliance
• S.C. Sea Grant Extension Program
• Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester Council of Governments
• S.C. Department of Natural Resources
SC MarketMaker - Helping fishermen market seafood products
MarketMaker is a national program originally developed by University of Illinois Extension faculty to connect grass-fed beef producers with economically viable new markets. The approach to this web-based, interactive tool is three-tiered allowing, 1) Producers (farmers and fishermen) to establish a web presence through the creation of a business profile, 2) Consumers and buyers to find producers that are selling their food products and 3) Producers to conduct target market research using a searchable database of demographic data to help refine their marketing efforts for their food products. Recognizing the opportunity for fishermen and aquaculture businesses to benefit from this program, SC Sea Grant Extension approached Clemson University about incorporating a seafood component to the SC MarketMaker site. In early 2009, through a partnership with SC Sea Grant, Clemson University, SC Department of Agriculture and USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, MarketMaker was launched in South Carolina. Check out the SC MarketMaker website to find farmers and fishermen that are selling SC vegetables and seafood: www.scmarketmaker.com
In addition, working with National Market Maker and Illinois/Indiana Sea Grant, Amber VonHarten, SCSGEP Fisheries specialist, created a National MarketMaker Seafood component accessible to all states in the MarketMaker program. The seafood component of MarketMaker serves all elements of the seafood industry (fishermen, retail, distributor and wholesaler) allowing each to create an on-line business profile highlighting the uniqueness of their products and businesses, and to choose from a nationally compiled list of seafood species and attributes to characterize their products on the sellers side and specify their needs on the buyers side. The MarketMaker seafood portal can be accessed at: http://national.marketmaker.uiuc.edu/dataportal.html
Marine Debris Disposal - Clean Marine project
In 2011, Clean Marine was piloted in Charleston County through support from a NOAA Marine Debris program grant. The project facilitated the removal of over 10,000 pounds of boating and fishing related debris that may have ended up in local waterways. The multi-agency project sparked the interest of Beaufort County and funds were sought and awarded to the Consortium by the University of Georgia, SouthEast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative (SEA-MDI) program to support a Clean Marine project in Beaufort County. Additional funding for the project was also awarded to project partner the Beaufort Soil & Water Conservation District from the BoatUS Foundation Grassroots Grants program.
The Beaufort County Clean Marine project, a multi-agency project, has two objectives: (1) to raise awareness of marine debris and proper disposal of these items; and (2) to provide a community action opportunity for Beaufort County residents to reduce boating and fishing related debris that could enter into coastal waters. Working with local government, non-profit, boating and fishing organizations, this project will provide educational awareness resources in both print and web-based media, conduct a County wide Clean Marine disposal event and coordinate community action through a month-long, citizen science reporting effort to collect data on existing large marine debris items in the waterways of Beaufort County, SC. The project will kick off in the Fall of 2012.
The project has evolved to also include the World Oceans Day Beaufort celebration in June 2012. Some of the marine debris being removed for the Clean Marine Beaufort project is being upcycled into a large-scale sculpture constructed out of marine debris.
Marine Fisheries Related Links