Crustaceans & Shellfish Fishing Regulations

Key Regulations for Crabs, Lobster, and Shellfish

Blue Crabs

  • Minimum Size: 5-inch carapace width, measured point to point.
  • Conservation Measure: It's illegal to keep females with egg mass (sponge). They must be returned to the water immediately, unharmed.

Stone Crabs

  • Minimum Size for Claw Harvest: 2 3/4-inch forearm (propodus) length.
  • Harvest Rules:
    • Only crabs with both claws may have one removed, and it must be the larger claw.
    • It's unlawful to keep a claw from a female with egg mass.
    • Possessing stone crab bodies, whether alive or dead, is prohibited.

Spiny Lobster

  • Possession Limit: 2 per person per day.
  • Minimum Size: 3-inch carapace length.
  • Harvest Restrictions:
    • Tail removal at sea is prohibited.
    • Harvesting berried females is forbidden.
    • Use of explosives, poisons, spears, or piercing devices other than fishing hooks is illegal.

Oysters and Clams

  • Season: Typically closed from May 16 to September 30, subject to change by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).
  • Possession Limits:
    • Oysters: 2 US bushels per person per day.
    • Clams: 1/2 US bushel per person per day.
  • Size Limit for Clams: 1-inch minimum thickness.
  • Additional Restrictions: Harvesting is limited to no more than 2 days within a 7-day period. No more than 3 personal limits per boat, vehicle, or combination, regardless of the number of people.


  • Closed Season for Non-Bait Shrimping: December 16 to April 30.
  • Possession Limits for Shrimping Without Bait:
    • 48 quarts whole or 29 quarts headed per day.
  • Shrimp Baiting Season: From September 8 at noon to November 12 at noon.
  • Possession Limits for Shrimp Baiting:
    • Same as non-bait shrimping, but specific to baiting activities.
  • License Requirements: A shrimp baiting license is required, with regulations on pole usage, distance between sets of poles, and gear restrictions.

Conservation and Sustainable Harvesting

The regulations are designed to ensure the sustainable harvesting of crustaceans and shellfish, protect breeding populations, and maintain healthy ecosystems. Compliance with size limits, possession limits, and seasonal closures is crucial for the conservation of these species and their habitats.

For More Information

Anglers are encouraged to contact SCDNR for the most current season dates and to review detailed regulations on permitted harvesting methods and gear restrictions. This proactive approach ensures both the enjoyment of recreational fishing and the long-term health of marine life.

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.