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Aerial view of a shrimp boat.

Program Focus Area

Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture

Seafood is an integral part of the traditions and cultures of coastal South Carolina, and a demand for local seafood makes it a significant part of the economy. Expanses of salt marsh support the production of the state’s leading fisheries: shrimp, crabs, and oysters. Commercial marine fishing is also an important industry, as well as the collection of horseshoe crab blood for biomedical purposes.

How the Consortium Supports Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture

The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium supports research and outreach to generate and deliver science-based information and programs in response to the needs of local communities and decision-makers in the following areas:

  • Coordinating region-wide fisheries research projects with universities and state and federal fisheries management agencies.
  • Development of viable and sustainable marine fisheries technologies and practices.
  • Supporting public access for subsistence and recreational fishing.
  • Building the capacity of community-based fisheries organizations.
  • Facilitating meetings and public policy events that affect fisheries stakeholders.
  • Transferring knowledge of best practices for shellfish aquaculture.
  • Supporting the development and advancement of seafood industry associations.
  • Helping the public navigate fishing and aquaculture policies and regulatory processes.
  • Determining human impacts on the coastal and marine ecosystems on which marine life depends.
  • Working cooperatively with state and federal management agencies to deliver science-based fisheries management guidance.
  • Encouraging safe and responsible practices for harvesting, handling, and marketing for seafood harvesters, wholesalers, and distributors.
  • Understanding the market and economics of locally produced seafood.

Current Research Projects

White shrimp, Penaeus setiferus.

Refining Assessments of Reproductive Activity in White Shrimp (Penaeus setiferus) to Improve Management Decisions

Principal Investigator: Michael Kendrick, S.C. Department of Natural Resources
Co-Principal Investigators: Peter Kingsley-Smith, Jeff Brunson, Chris McDonough, Graham Wagner, S.C. Department of Natural Resources

The main goals of this project are to refine reproductive assessments of white shrimp and to help experts better understand reproductive phases and phenology. Researchers will provide fishery managers with access to more detailed biological data, supporting a more informed decision-making process regarding the opening of the spring commercial shrimp season.

Photo credit: SCDNR.

Horseshoe crab on the beach.

Physiological Effects of Age and Temperature on Blood Chemistry, Metabolism, and Mortality of Harvested Horseshoe Crabs, Limulus Polyphemus

Principal Investigator: Daniel Sasson, S.C. Department of Natural Resources
Co-Principal Investigators: Jody Beers, College of Charleston; Fabio Casu and Brad Floyd, S.C. Department of Natural Resources

The American horseshoe crab is important for its role in the biomedical industry. Amoebocytes in the blood of horseshoe crabs isolate foreign bacteria by detecting and quickly clotting around endotoxins. The amoebocytes are extracted from the blood to create Limulus Amoebocyte Lysate, which is used to test for the presence of toxins in medical devices and injectables. The goal of this research is to help determine factors that would allow the selective harvest of crabs with a specific blood chemistry, and thus the possible use of fewer crabs, in biomedical testing.

2020-2021 Impacts and Accomplishments

The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium’s report of our successes in advancing sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in coastal South Carolina.

Resources by Topic

The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium’s published information and project results in areas related to sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.