Don't give aquatic weeds a passport to new waters! In South Carolina , plants such as hydrilla, water hyacinth, giant salvina, and water lettuce displace valuable native plants, particularly in wetlands and in shallow water along shorelines. These plants can choke waterways and make it impossible to boat or swim. Preventing the occurrence and spread of aquatic weed infestations in public waters can save millions of public and private dollars each year in avoided control costs. As a further deterrent, South Carolina law includes fines up to $500 and/or imprisonment for persons spreading nuisance aquatic weeds. Learn more about these invasive plants, and how to keep from spreading these potential hitchhikers to other waters by clicking here: http://www.dnr.state.sc.us/water/envaff/aquatic/alert.html

Never release fish or animals into a body of water unless they came out of that body of water . Some anglers release their catch into other lakes and ponds. This can cause two different problems. One, the fish you release may contain harmful hitchhikers, disease or viruses. And two, you might upset the balance of the lake, pond or river.

Professional fisheries biologists of SCDNR are responsible for all legal stocking of fish species into the public waters of the South Carolina . This is undertaken only after consideration of all pertinent benefits and consequences. Fish stocking by private citizens is managed by SCDNR and requires a permit. Unregulated stocking by citizens has produced detrimental effects.

For example, flathead catfish and blue catfish are native to the Mississippi drainage and were first put into lake systems in South Carolina during the 1960s, where they thrived and became popular—especially in the Santee-Cooper system. They are now found in the Edisto River (a blackwater river) and several coastal rivers. While they provide recreational benefit in lake systems, they can be very invasive and damaging to the unique river fish naturally found in South Carolina.

Spotted bass populations also are not native to South Carolina . They are found in the Tennessee drainage, Lake Lanier in Georgia and parts of Alabama . They appear to have been illegally introduced by anglers into Lakes Jocassee, Keowee, Hartwell, and Russell in South Carolina . They can degrade native redeye bass populations through competition and hybridization. Spotted bass also are correlated with declines in crappie fisheries in some areas.

Dispose of bait properly . Whether you're fishing in salt or freshwater, it is important to dispose of unused bait (especially LIVE BAIT!) properly. It is best if you place your unused bait in a sealed container and then put it in the trash. Even if you use bait as fertilizer, it is better than throwing it back in the water. If you plan to reuse live bait for a future fishing trip, make sure they are in a sealed container where they cannot escape. It is critical that you not dump the bait or contents into the water. Dumping into ditches may lead back into a water body of concern, too. Even if you think your bait is native, it has the potential to include nuisance species and or contain a disease that can have negative impacts on your fishery.

 

Dispose of shrimp parts and oyster shells properly . When we're near the water, we enjoy eating seafood but how we dispose of the leftover shells can impact the continued ability to enjoy our feasts. Shrimp heads and shells need to be disposed of in the trash and not thrown into the water because non-native shrimp parts have the potential to spread disease.

 

Oyster shells need to be taken to a recycle facility so they can be returned to the water to help reestablish oyster habitat. By first taking the oysters to a recycling facility you are assured that the shells will not contain disease or nuisance species before they are taken to shellfish growing areas where the shells are most needed. South Carolina has a critical shortage of oyster shell. To properly manage the state's oyster beds and maintain these important oyster habitats, citizens and businesses must continually recycle the oyster shell that is removed from the state's oyster beds. You can drop off your oyster shells at one of several shell recylcing centers located along the South Carolina coast. Find out more on this issue and the locations of an oyster shell recycling drop-off site at : http://saltwaterfishing.sc.gov/ and then select oyster recycling from the left hand menu.