South Carolina Gives Tarpon More Protection

A new statute states that only one fish over 77 inches can be taken.

Another major victory for tarpon conservation occurred on June 13 as South Carolina’s Governor signed into law a bill limiting the taking of tarpon in South Carolina. Under the new statute, only one fish per day may be taken and no fish under 77 inches in fork length may be taken.

Florida recently increased its protection of tarpon by making them catch and release only with an exemption for one tarpon tag used in pursuit of an IGFA world record.

South Carolina’s new regulations are a similar improvement, as it allows the taking of only one fish that has the likelihood of being a South Carolina record.

Organizations such as the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust are grateful to all the anglers who worked on this important legislation.

The bill was authored by Senator Chip Campsen, who along with Dave Dalu and Mike Able worked with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to get them to agree to this important initial step in tarpon preservation in South Carolina.

Guide Captains Steve Roff of Georgetown and Hunter Allen of Mt. Pleasant helped to get the effort started. Representative Stephen Goldfinch was also instrumental in shepherding the bill through the House.

Fred Allen, a founding member of BTT and a South Carolina state house lobbyist who worked on the bill as a volunteer, said, “South Carolina is proud to do a small part to be a good neighbor in preserving a resource we all share.”

Though not included in the current legislation, the DNR recommends educational efforts to inform the angling public about the proper handling of tarpon, including keeping them in the water for photos.