The business facets of the South Carolina local seafood industry are completely interrelated and the industry succeeds or fails as an entity, yet no one organization or agency could be considered responsible for the success or failure of the state’s local seafood sector of the industry. This is true in state government and in the industry itself. More government attention will be directed toward the industry when and if those in the industry organize to a point of critical mass.
The “critical mass” of support for an organization change effort, consists of key organizers and stakeholders who are committed to changing the status quo. The present fragmented structure of the various South Carolina seafood producers, organized along species production, must advance to the next step of creating an organization that truly represents the local seafood industry in toto. This action to attain the critical mass needed to convince the government that adjustment of agency responsibility leads to realignment and clarification of incentives will open the door for business innovation to recover and grow the state’s local seafood industry.
A first step to realigning government responsibilities is for the government to form a Joint Legislative Subcommittee on Seafood that includes wild-caught, aquaculture and mariculture in both salt and freshwater. Seafood caught in federal waters and landed in South Carolina should be included. Rules, regulations and specific responsibilities within the State agencies need to be updated.The greater the number of souls in a movement for equity and representation the greater the chance for success.