Remember when the rare “bomb cyclone” event touched down in the Lowcountry in January 2018? While some of us were enjoying the bonus time off by building snowmen or sipping hot chocolate, marine animals were “chilling out” (quite literally) along South Carolina’s coast. Local shrimp and fish species are still trying to rebound from the effects of this sporadic event, and this leaves questions from a sustainable seafood standpoint.
According to South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), sustained water temperatures below 48° F can be fatal for some of our favorite sustainable seafood choices, like white shrimp. Our coastal water temperatures dropped as 2018 began and as a result, the average low recorded in the Charleston Harbor was 42° F on January 7. After numerous reports of dead fish and shrimp in our area, SCDNR responded to the cold temperatures by closing the shrimp trawl season to try to protect surviving white shrimp and to encourage catch and release of spotted seatrout.
So what does this mean for the upcoming summer shrimp season and the Lowcountry’s love of shrimp and grits? It is too early to tell what the fishery will be like for white shrimp. Our goals are always to support the responsible consumption and harvesting of sustainable seafood choices, so stay up-to-date on shrimping regulations through SCDNR’s website.
Still in the mood to dine on some great seafood, but worried if you’re making the right choice? Pay close attention to menu options at your local favorite eateries, and ask them where their seafood is coming from. Dine at Good Catch partner restaurants where you can and feel confident in knowing that they are offering the most sustainable options available!