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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 and Outreach Projects

Cobia fish underwater.

Developing Ways to Assess Cobia Stock Health

Research Project: Developing a sex-linked DNA marker for cobia (Rachycentron canadum) using next generation sequencing technology for use in stock enhancement, aquaculture efforts, and stock assessments

Researchers from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources will use next generation sequencing to develop a sex-linked DNA marker for cobia and use that information to assess the genetic health and hatchery contribution to cobia in South Carolina.

Developing Better Stocking Strategies for Spotted Seatrout

Research Project: Modeling optimal responsible stocking strategies for spotted seatrout

Hatchery managers have few established protocols for determining appropriate stocking numbers or evaluating the potential risks of stocking on the genetic health of the wild population.

Researchers from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources will compare stocking strategies at multiple population abundance levels to determine the best practices for spotted seatrout conservation efforts.

A spotted seatrout being released into the water.

Photo by Florida Fish and Wildlife.

Waves at sunrise.

Developing Methods for Tripletail Aquaculture

Research Project: Evaluating shellfish pond potential to produce a compatible crop of marine fish, tripletail (Lobotes surinamensis)

The few attempts at tripletail aquaculture in the southeastern United States so far have been unsuccessful. Researchers from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources will try new methods in recirculating aquaculture systems using fish food with hormones designed to induce spawning.

Making Fish Food from Brewery By-Products

Research Project: Utilizing local Charleston, South Carolina craft brewery by-products to fill nutritional gaps in sustainable fish feeds for juvenile red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus)

Researchers from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources will determine if spent grains contain sufficient nutritional content to be utilized as an ingredient in fish feed formulations, is digestible for juvenile red drum, and can be incorporated into feed without negative consequences to fish growth or health.

Red drum fish being held in hands.

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.