SC Commissioner Weathers: SC ‘Seafood School’

The seafood industry has an important history in South Carolina. The coastline is famous for its beaches, but also for its shrimp, oysters, clams and more. Commissioner Hugh Weathers is here to tell us about a new apprenticeship helping that sector of the industry.

  • Over the years, the industry has battled overseas fishing that has priced out our local shrimpers and fishers, and aging dock space.
  • We have a strong consortium of mariculture industry leaders that have come together with Sea Grant and Clemson University to form a South Carolina Commercial Seafood Apprenticeship Program.
  • The program, located in McClellanville, SC, offers classroom-based and on-the-job training that provides the knowledge and skills needed to start a career in commercial fishing or mariculture.
  • The program topics include safety training, seamanship, and navigation; boat and gear operation and maintenance; fisheries science, management, and engagement; and seafood business and marketing.
  • As part of the program, trainees will get 2 days at sea to gain hands-on experience with commercial fishing and mariculture.
  • Through the apprenticeship training, participants receive a CPR, First Aid and automated external defibrillator certification, a U.S. Coast Guard Drill Conductor certification, a commercial fishing license, and a certificate of completion from S.C. Sea Grant Consortium for those who complete the training.
  • After completion of the program, participants will receive a $1,000 stipend and networking support to find employment in the seafood industry.
  • Lodging, course materials, and gear are also provided for participants.
  • This is a win-win because there are quite a few positive impacts and benefits:
    • Safeguarding the treasured maritime legacy by creating a recruitment pipeline we can help ensure a sustainable future for the profession.
    • Helping local businesses find and retain quality employees.
    • Providing new career opportunities and preparing and professionalizing the next generation of commercial fishers and farmers.
  • Through the help of a Rural Business Development Grant, classes just started last month for 6 students.
  • These students have already had safety classes, welding, small engine maintenance, training, crabbing, fishing, oyster, and clam “fishing”
  • To learn more about the program, and apply for the 2025 program, please visit