Each year, South Carolinians consume our local oysters and clams, confident that they are safe to eat. South Carolina's oyster and clam harvesting areas are routinely monitored for fecal coliform bacteria. Excessive levels of these bacteria may be an indicator of the presence of human disease causing organisms. Few people realize that shellfish harvested illegally from closed waters pose a serious threat to their health and that eating these shellfish may cause serious illness. Be aware of your harvest area classifications - harvest only from open areas.
Another serious threat to public health and the shellfish industry is the discharge of untreated fecal material into growing shellfish areas. Under no circumstances should untreated fecal waste be allowed to discharge overboard or into any shellfish harvesting area. Discharge of untreated waste is illegal and adversely impacts water quality - potentially resulting in harvest area closures. It is recommended that all harvesting vessels carry an approved marine sanitation device.