Tourism is a vital part of South Carolina’s economy. With a coastline rich with fresh seafood, beautiful beaches and fishing opportunities, tourists come to enjoy the beauty and bounty of our shores.
One of the favored pastimes of South Carolina’s visitors is casting a baited hook into the surf. Whether from a public pier or surf casting, tourists can try their hand at reeling in a ‘good catch’ from many South Carolina piers or beaches. Unfortunately, this summer, as visitors flock to the coast for a much-desired change of scenery and fresh air, we are receiving a higher number of sea turtles caught or stranded with hook and line injuries. Because of this we wanted to share some helpful tips for sustainably and responsibly fishing from shore:
- Use a circle hook.
- These hooks significantly reduce sea turtle mortality because the shape helps prevent them from becoming hooked if they eat your bait.
- Consider casting from an area where bait isn’t often falling into the water.
- Turtles are often drawn to these areas due to the excess food in the water
- Reduce your litter and plastic pollution
- By packing up everything you brought with you and properly disposing of any refuse, you are helping keep excess plastics out of our waters
- If you snag a turtle, gently bring it to shore with a dip net, cut the line about one foot from the mouth and tape to the back of the shell.
- Leaving extra line helps veterinary staff in the removal process. In the event of hooking a turtle, call the SDNR Sea Turtle Hotline: (843) 633-1639
- Stay up to date on saltwater fishing size and catch limits.
Nearly all sea turtle species are classified as either threatened or endangered. Every injured sea turtle is a threat to the survival of their species. By taking these simple steps, you can enjoy South Carolina’s coast while also helping these amazing creatures stay safe and healthy.