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News & Notes – Summer 2014
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The Global Plastic Breakdown: How Microplastics Are Shredding Ocean Health
VOLUME 28, NUMBER 3, SUMMER 2014             

By John H. Tibbetts                                                                       back to main story  

News and Notes

New insights on marketable clams 

Lowcountry clam farmers can benefit from a recent study demonstrating the effects of planting time on growth and survival of hard clams.

The S.C. Sea Grant Extension Program, in partnership with two beginning clam farmers, planted clam seed in the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012 at sites in Beaufort and Isle of Palms. Clam seed, averaging 12-to-15mm in size, were planted in soft mesh bags which were then staked to the sea bottom. Each bag was stocked with a thousand clams. 

During the grow-out period, clams bury into the muddy bottom, relying on the mesh bag for protection from predators. They extend their siphon—a tube-like structure—to the water’s surface to feed on phytoplankton. 

A clam typically takes two years to reach harvest size. The Beaufort demonstration site was harvested in December 2013 and the Isle of Palms site was harvested in May 2014.

Established markets exist for various sizes of clams. The names littleneck, cherrystone, top neck, and chowder refer to the size of the clam, from smallest to largest. 

Results from the grow-out site at Isle of Palms indicate that by varying planting time farmers can offer a variety of sizes available for market at the same time.

“We expected that an extra six months in the water would make a difference in the size of the clams at harvest,” says Julie Davis, the Consortium’s living marine resources extension specialist. “The longer a clam is in the water, the bigger it would grow, which is what we saw at the Isle of Palms site.”

But that was not the case at the demonstration site in Beaufort. Despite better survival rates there than at Isle of Palms, beginning farmers suspect site selection might have been the reason for slower growth of clams. “This highlights the importance of careful site selection,” says Davis. 

This study was funded through the National Sea Grant Aquaculture Extension and Technology Transfer program.

Accountant/fiscal analyst joins Consortium

Michele M. Neff was recently hired as an accountant/fiscal analyst at the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium. Her job duties include grants accounting and management, budget analysis, and revenue and expense reporting. She also will serve as the agency’s benefits coordinator, recruiting manager, and assist with other human resources activities.

Michele came to the Consortium from Roper Saint Francis Health Care, where she was a senior reimbursement analyst. She earned a B.S. in business administration-accounting from Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, N.J., and a human-resources certificate from Penn State University. 

Litter cleanup ­volunteers needed

Beach Sweep/River Sweep—South Carolina’s largest one-day cleanup—is scheduled for Saturday, September 20, 2014. Part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, the Sweep is organized by the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium in partnership with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

Last year, over 5,400 volunteers statewide removed over 34 tons of debris and covered 272 miles of beaches, marshes, and waterways, but there is still more work to be done.

A list of coastal site captains and areas covered is available at Simply choose a site and contact the site captain directly to let them know you’d like to join their team. If you’re interested in cleaning a needy area that is not listed, please contact Susan Ferris Hill, coastal coordinator, at (843) 953-2092 or Volunteers who want to help inland may contact Bill Marshall at (803) 734-9096 or

Coastal Heritage wins prestigious awards

The Coastal Heritage team has been recognized with six awards over the past year:
  • 2013-2014 Distinguished Award and Best of Show Award from the Society for Technical Communication (STC) – Carolina Chapter in the Technical Publications competition. The rigorous judging process is based on content and organization, copyediting, visual design, and creativity.
  • 2013-2014 Award of Excellence from STC’s International Summit Awards competition.
  • First Place in the Writer’s Portfolio category from the National Association of Government Communicators 2014 Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards. This international competition salutes superior communications efforts of government agencies and recognizes the people who create the products.
  • Gold Award for Magazines and Periodicals in the 2014 Critique and Awards competition from the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE). This international competition recognizes the work of ACE members who have done an outstanding job.
  • 2014 APEX Award of Excellence in the Magazines and Journals category. APEX is an international competition that recognizes outstanding publications in the areas of editorial content, graphic design, and success in achieving overall communications effectiveness and excellence. 

Current and back issues of Coastal Heritage are available on the Consortium’s website at

Last updated: 9/30/2014 2:16:44 PM
News & Notes – Summer 2014


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