SC Coastal Fish size Limits

SC Species Regulations for

General Description
Deep-bodied, silvery-gray to dark gray with blackish fins. Young fish have 4 – 5 vertical black bars that disappear with age. Mouth inferior and horizontal, lower jaw with 10 – 13 pairs of barbels in multiple rows. Body scales large and comblike, lateral line extends to hind margin of tail fin.

Average Size
14 inches, 2.2 pounds;
South Carolina State Record: 89 pounds (1978);
maximum age: approx. 60 years


Adults: Common over sandy and soft live bottoms in salt and brackish water including: estuaries, coastal rivers, shallow coastal bays, and along beaches. Spatial distribution closely tied to natural and artificial hard structures, including: reefs, rock piles, jetties, docks, pier pilings, and bridges.

Juveniles: Common over muddy bottoms in shallow tidal creeks and salt marsh. Subadults progress to deeper creeks, river mouths, and bays and into nearshore coastal waters.

Availability/Vulnerability to Harvest

  • Adults tolerate wide salinity ranges; distribution is therefore tied to temperature and availability of hard structures or oyster reef habitat. In South Carolina, black drum are most abundant in nearshore or coastal waters February – July; cold may induce movement to deeper bays, sounds or offshore waters to overwinter.
  • No commercial fishery exists for black drum in South Carolina; however, recreational harvest is potentially high since this species occupies nearshore waters during most of the year.
  • Conservation concerns: degradation or loss of estuarine nursery habitat; potential for significant recreational harvest; lack of biological and spawning location data for South Carolina black drum.

Abundance of Species

Recent catches of black drum in the SCDNR trammel net survey have been near the 10-year average. The extremely high abundance noted in 1999 was due to a strong year class (i.e. lots of new juveniles), but those small fish apparently experienced poor survival during their first winter of life.

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Drastic cuts in fish quotas expected

2012-12-20 13:50:31 by Citizen_J

By Beth Daley, Boston Globe, 12/20/12
With fishery regulators poised to impose devastating cuts Thursday on the New England fleet, blame for the disappearance of once-abundant cod and flounder populations is shifting from fishermen to a new culprit: the changing ocean.
Warming waters and an evolving ocean ecosystem possibly related to man-made climate change are contributing to the anemic populations, not just decades of overfishing, government officials say

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