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Living Marine Resources Program

The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium’s Living Marine Resources Program Specialist works with commercial and recreational fishermen, aquaculture producers, fisheries resource managers, seafood dealers, chefs, scientists, and Sea Grant fisheries extension programs throughout the region and nation.

The program’s goal is to help create sustainable fisheries operations that balance the ecological needs of living marine resources and the socioeconomic needs of communities. The program also provides technical assistance to aquaculture producers to support environmentally friendly and economically viable operations.

Contact

Graham Gaines
Living Marine Resources Specialist
18 John Galt Road, Beaufort, S.C. 29906
(843) 470-5109
graham.gaines@scseagrant.org

Recent Projects in Living Marine Resources

Shrimp boats at the dock.

Maintaining Working Waterfronts

After hearing from coastal communities that they were struggling to maintain and/or evolve their traditional working waterfronts, the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium and researchers from Clemson University and College of Charleston talked with stakeholders from Murrells Inlet, Georgetown, McClellanville, Mount Pleasant (Shem Creek), and Port Royal.

Researchers asked about the future of traditional working waterfronts and gathered information that helped identify needs, challenges, and opportunities for each community. The results of this research were presented at Community Forums designed to facilitate discussion and help prioritize issues. As a result, S.C. Sea Grant continues to work with McClellanville and other partners to secure their waterfront for commercial fishing operations and provide future economic opportunity for local fisherman.

More about Working Waterfronts Community Forums >

Oyster in hand.

Partnership Puts South Carolina Triploid Oyster Seed in the Hands of Oyster Growers

Over concerns with disease transfer, the state of South Carolina introduced a moratorium on importing oyster seed, which meant that growers had to seek out new seed sources and develop the capacity to produce seed within South Carolina if the industry was to continue to develop.

The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium provided technical expertise on hatchery and nursery system design and implementation of standard operating procedures to build capacity and optimization of production to currently the only commercial-scale nursery in the state. Beginning in 2014, the Consortium, in partnership with industry, launched an effort with the goal of producing triploid oyster seed using only South Carolina broodstock.

The program also aims to develop a diverse line of broodstock to meet the industry’s needs into the future. In 2017, because of Consortium efforts, seed orders for all South Carolina oyster farmers were filled with triploid seed produced in-state using only South Carolina broodstock. Over 3 million seed were sold, which represents a conservative average market value to the growers of $1.8 million, and $6 million in restaurant retail value.

Horseshoe crab on the beach.

Conservation of Horseshoe Crabs

In South Carolina, horseshoe crabs are harvested by people solely for biomedical and educational purposes. A component of horseshoe crab blood (Limulus amoebocyte lysate, LAL) plays a vital role in detecting contamination in medical equipment and drugs. Charleston is home to one of the world’s leaders in this technology, and harvests and bleeds horseshoe crabs locally to collect LAL.

Previous studies demonstrated that 80-90% of crabs survive the bleeding process, but the status of the population as a whole was unknown. Following a request from the regulatory and biomedical industries to determine the status of the South Carolina horseshoe crab population, the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium sought funds then solicited proposals to best address the industry’s question.

The Consortium secured $62,644 in funding from private industry for a two-year project which employed a genetic approach to assess the health of the horseshoe crab population. It turns out that the South Carolina horseshoe crab population is genetically diverse and not geographically segmented along the coast. Contrary to prior studies, researchers determined that the population has a large effective population size, an indicator of strong reproductive output and success. Results suggest that there is no need for further restrictions on management of this economically and medically important fishery.

Outreach efforts included development of a Stranded Horseshoe Crab brochure targeted at beachfront property owners and attracting mainstream media exposure for the project and an exhibit constructed at the Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Center in Beaufort County.

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