Local oysters soon available year round in South Carolina
We’re about to have oysters on our plates year round…not just in months that have an ‘r’ in them. Last week, state regulators at DHEC approved the summer harvest of mariculture oysters in South Carolina, and the proposal now goes to the State Legislature where it expects to be passed.
We only get to enjoy oysters around here in late September through April because of the increased chance of bacteria being present, but expert oyster mariculturists can handle their monitored oysters and get them farm-to-table the right way, thus reducing or eliminating any risk.
The proposed change only applies to the farm-harvested select oysters that are part of a mariculture industry along the South Carolina coast, including Beaufort.. These oysters are raised in cages in local waters, and experts have said that there’s no reason they can’t be harvested in the summer. Rep. Shannon Erickson, R-Beaufort, who helped introduce proposals has stated that studies have shown proper precautions and monitoring can keep the crop safe.
This is also good news for our local restaurants and our tourist friends as well. Part of the allure to visiting Beaufort and the Lowcountry is obviously the availability of local seafood, and this will put select local oysters on plates during our peak tourist season.
Of course, it means a lot to our local seafood industry too. Beaufort has a few oyster farms, from which we will now be getting served from year-round.
Craig Reaves of Sea Eagle operates a local oyster mariculture farm. In a post on Facebook, Craig said, “This was the right thing to do, I’m glad Sea Eagle has a mariculture program that is growing our ‘Port Royal’ oysters and our clam farm. Keeps us on the water year around.”
Frank Roberts’ ‘Single Lady’ oysters are very popular locally and are from his Lady’s Island Oyster Farm.
This is definitely a win-win for everybody.
See more of the story here.
Cover photo courtesy Andrew Branning