Well I don’t think that we can rely on the good nature of our fellow anglers to all of the sudden decide to change their ways and do the right thing so our only option is to hope that the state government will make some meaningful changes before it is too late. In our case I don’t know that it will be possible because as far as I know the SCDNR does not have the power to make changes in fisheries limits…What? You got it, even if there were 2 redfish left in all of South Carolina our own Department of Natural Resources would not have the power to change the limits and protect those fish. For fisheries limits to be changed it needs to go through the state legislature and we all know how politics work. If however, we were able to make some meaningful changes these would be my suggestions and I know that a lot of people out there would go out of their minds because someone suggests that we actually make changes the don’t allow them the possibility to stuff their freezer full of filets. But if we don’t get on board and start making better policies there won’t be any fish to stuff in the freezer! In my opinion, fisheries management is very easy though fisheries managers seem to make it overly complicated. We have been fishing for and studying these fish for decades so we ample information to protect them. First off, during the months that fish are spawning shut the fishery down, other states have done this and it has paid big dividends. Next tighten the bag limits at least until the fisheries recover and then possibly look at loosening them up some. Wow that wasn’t so complicated was it. Below would be my personal suggestion for SC saltwater bag limits. Moreover, each fishery would be fully closed during its respective spawn except for redfish because all of the breeding class redfish are over the size limit anyhow.
Redfish1 per person per day
Black Drum 2 per person per day
Speckled Trout 4 per person per day
Flounder 2 per person per day
Sheepshead 5 per person per day
Cobia Full Closure
Outside of these regulations other fisheries should be looked at as well but at this point these are the fisheries that are in the most trouble.
In conclusion, I know that this is a long article and I thank you for reading. I also know that this only scratches the surface as to the complexity of managing our resources for long term sustainability but I surely hope that we don’t lose the precious fisheries that we have left. One thing that has been proven time and time again is that you give fish a chance to rebound they generally do so rather quickly. A few examples would include the Northeastern striped bass fishery, the South Florida snook fishery and the entire east coast grouper fishery. When your kids come to you one day and ask you what happened to all of the fish do you really want to respond with “well I’m sorry kiddo but we ate em all”.