DHEC and DNR Work Together to Prevent Possibly Contaminated Shellfish From Reaching Public

Photo courtesy of SCDNR

After several weeks of a joint investigation by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Beaufort Unit and the DHEC Shellfish Division, two individuals who were illegally harvesting and selling oysters in the Bluffton/Hilton Head area were apprehended. 

On March 17, 10 bushels of adulterated oysters were seized from the scene, and 10 summons and 2 warnings were issued to the two individuals. This illegal trade puts the citizens at risk due to the health standards not being involved in the process.  

Joint efforts between DHEC shellfish and SCDNR in Beaufort County continue to be highly successful in keeping adulterated and possibly contaminated shellfish off the tables of the residents of South Carolina and Beaufort County. 

This is a wonderful example of the DHEC core value of Promoting Teamwork and the agency strategy of Operational Excellence. 

More about the Shellfish Sanitation Program   

DHEC’s Shellfish Sanitation Program is a health and environmental protection program with three major responsibilities: 

  • classification of the waters used for the growing and cultivating of molluscan shellfish,  
  • certification and inspection of facilities that process, and 
  • distribute shellfish and the patrol of those areas that are determined to be unsuitable for the harvesting of shellfish.  

The 10-officer team primarily operates in the state’s coastal counties but does conduct operations as needed throughout the state. Their responsibilities include patrolling of the state’s shellfish (oysters and clams) harvesting grounds as well as the inspection of shellfish processors and transporters.  


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