Hilton Head Island Rentals and Absentee Homeowner Services

Oyster Season in South Carolina

Oyster Season in South Carolina



The South Carolina oyster fishery is based entirely on the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. Although other oysters are grown on the west coast, no other commercially important oyster species occurs on the east coast. The oyster is one of the most popular local seafoods. It is readily available and can be served in a variety of appetizing ways. Oysters are not only palatable, but also contain a number of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and proteins.

The oyster feeds by filtering food particles from the surrounding water. Opening and closing of the valves are controlled by an adductor muscle attached to each shell. Food and other particulate matter, suspended in the water, are drawn into the oyster by the motion of small, fringe-like whips called cilia located on the gills. The quantity of water pumped by a large, healthy oyster may approach four gallons per hour. Food particles retained by the gills are conducted by ciliary action to the mouth and then to the stomach of the oyster. Matter brought into the shell, but not passed through the mouth, is collected by mucus on the gills and then discharged. Large amounts of silt are rejected in this manner. This ability to separate food from silt apparently allows oysters to survive in waters of high turbidity which occurs in many estuaries. The filtering action of oysters can play an important role in removing not only suspended sediments from the water column, but can cleanse the water of various pollutants.  Recreational harvesting of oysters and clams by individuals for personal consumption is a popular and traditional activity in South Carolina. Care must be taken to harvest only from authorized areas. In South Carolina, growing areas generally fall into several categories, including private grounds, known as Shellfish Culture Permits, State Shellfish Grounds and Public Oyster Grounds. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources maintains the last two categories for public harvesting.

Public Oyster Grounds are areas where South Carolina residents can gather oysters and clams for their personal use. Commercial harvesting is not permitted. The boundaries of these areas currently are marked with metal signs which read: "Public Oyster Grounds, Commercial Harvesting Prohibited." State Shellfish Grounds are also open to recreational shellfishermen. These grounds may be marked with metal signs which read: "State Shellfish Grounds, Public Harvesting Permitted."  In addition to harvesting only in an authorized area, there are several regulations with which the recreational harvester must comply. It is unlawful to harvest between May 15 and September 1 annually, although the Department of Natural Resources can vary the season if conditions warrant.


Search Properties

I can’t recommend this lovely oasis highly enough. The house is accessible to the beach, stores, great restaurants and other necessities (by bike or car). We loved that it’s on a cul-de-sac, not on the main road or a busy street — so it feels secluded and safe for kids. The only neighbors we heard were the local birds! Very well appointed and thoughtfully laid-out, there was more than enough room for our party of 6 even with a few of us working remotely (and there was good internet connection for video meetings, etc.). The couch was large and comfy and the dining table had plenty of room for all of us too. We all enjoyed the screened in porch and the yard. The beds were supremely comfortable and everyone in our party slept super well. The place was very clean and the decor was a good mix of modern plus southern charm. We loved taking advantage of the nearby biking path. Feels like you’re in an enchanted forest with all the pretty greenery and Spanish moss. And don’t forget to go to the nature preserve which isn’t far and can be accessed on foot or by bike or car. The perfect place for a picnic! I’ve rented a lot of houses and condos but have never seen a kitchen so well stocked with quality cooking utensils and gadgets. There was even a salad spinner! We are already thinking about planning our next trip back here! It was a great value for the price.
Michelle Ventura


4 Roma Ct
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928