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Harvesting Oysters — Charleston County, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Charleston County  |  Harvesting Oysters

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Harvesting Oysters

Did you know that 4-5 medium size oysters supply the recommended daily allowance of iron, iodine, copper, calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese and phosphorus? South Carolina residents are lucky to have an abundance of these delectable and nutritious salt marsh oysters all throughout our beautiful Lowcountry.

Gathering Oysters

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While oyster beds are plentiful here, it is important to remember that it takes three years for oyster clusters to mature before they are ready to eat. Oysters are a vital part of our salt marsh ecology, so when you go out to gather your own, remember to abide by the “two bushels per person, per day” limit that is enforced by the Department of Natural Resources. And by all means, please remember to recycle your shells!

Transporting Oysters

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Picking your own oysters may sound like a daunting task, but all you really need is a license, a good low tide, a bucket, and a small hammer. Also, don’t forget your gloves and boots for mucking around in the pluff mud! Make sure to break apart your oyster clusters at the bed, and leave the smaller oysters behind so they can continue to grow.

Oyster Gathering

This image is copyrighted. You may not use it without written consent.

There are three areas open to the public for oyster harvesting. You can learn more about these areas on DNR’s Shellfish Information and Regulations page.

SCIWAY gives a big thanks to Barry Gooch of Charleston for submitting these great pictures. Barry is a great photographer who has been one of the most generous contributors to the South Carolina Picture Project.

To learn more about oyster festivals, oyster history, and oyster recycling, see SCIWAY’s South Carolina Oyster Guide.

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One Comment about Harvesting Oysters

Annette M. Ferguson says:
March 21st, 2019 at 11:26 am

I truly enjoyed this information, and I ate some oysters, which I LOVE! But they were gritty, and I want to know how to soak shucked oysters I buy from the fish markets. I hate the dirty/gritty crunch in my mouth. Thanks!


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