This publication was made possible with funds from the sale of the South Carolina Marine Recreational Fisheries Stamp. Help ensure outdoor enjoyment for future generations by strictly adhering to all rules, regulations, seasons, catch limits and size limits. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources publishes an annual Rules and Regulations booklet that lists all saltwater fishing regulations. Have an enjoyable fishing trip by reading these requirements before you fish.
Author: Donald L. Hammond, Office of Fisheries Management
Illustrations: Ron Chapiesky
Fish Illustrations: Dwayne Raver
Series Assistant: Roxanne Baker
Saltwater Fishing Conservation & Ethics
Although most people once considered ocean resources to be unlimited, recent rapid declines in the populations of many commercial and recreational species have demonstrated the opposite.
Numerous types of saltwater game fish now are being overharvested and other species will face a similar fate unless all anglers practice wise conservation and adopt an ethical approach to fishing.
Size and catch limits, seasons and gear restrictions should be adhered to strictly. These regulations change from time to time as managers learn more about fish life histories and how to provide angling opportunities without depleting stocks.
The challenge of catching, not killing, fish provides anglers with the excitement and the reward of fishing. Undersized fish, or fish over the limit should be released to ensure the future of fish populations. The number of saltwater fish tagged and released increases annually in South Carolina as more and more fishermen take up this practice that provides information on growth and movement of fish as well as conserving resources.
The positive impact of tag and release has been demonstrated dramatically by the Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series. Begun in 1989, this annual event, encompassing the major spring billfishing tournaments, has resulted in a new conservation emphasis among offshore anglers. Now, more than 85 percent of billfish brought to the boat are tagged and released by both tournament and nontournament anglers. Catches of blue marlin, white marlin and sailfish have increased each year as a result. Saltwater fishermen can further contribute to conservation by purchasing a Marine Recreational Fisheries Stamp (Adobe PDF) which is required to fish from a private boat or to gather shellfish in South Carolina’s saltwaters. Funds generated by the sale of stamps must be spent on programs that directly benefit saltwater fish and fishermen.
Help ensure the outdoor enjoyment of future generations by strictly adhering to all rules, regulations, seasons, catch limits and size limits, and through the catch and release of saltwater game fish.