Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Rocky Magwood will set off on the Winds of Fortune this week when the Provisional Areas within the SC General Trawl Zone open to shrimp trawling Thursday, May 22. Mel Bell, Director of the Office of Fisheries Management for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Marine Resources Division announced the opening last week.
He said in a memo that the opening was based on their assessment of how things are looking related to white shrimp along the coast.
He's captaining his uncle Wayne Magwood's boat for the season after the devastating loss of his boat Lady Eva. The boat began taking on water late last year at her slip in Shem Creek. She later sank while being towed to Georgia for repairs.
Magwood is a fourth-generation shrimper, whose family's bloodstream is filled with the salt water of Charleston's harbor. His father Skipper passed away when Rocky was just 16. He had a heart attack while shrimping off St. Augustine.
From that day forward his uncle Wayne filled in as a father figure. Three days after the funeral he went with Wayne to pick up a boat. That boat happened to be The Winds of Fortune.
He has owned a shrimp boat since he was 13 years old. And even after last year's unsuccessful shrimp season and the sinking of his own boat, he's still going at it.
Rocky said he came to the realization the other night that he's going to keep on shrimping despite declining success. “We've made a lot of money on this boat. I can't see giving that up now because the seasons haven't been good,” he said.
He's working on getting his 100 Ton license and he's not leaving the creek that his family helped build.
“The ocean...that's what I do. I'm dedicated to shrimping. I can't imagine doing anything else. I can't imagine not one Magwood owning a shrimp boat,” he said.
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologist Larry DeLancey said the regular season will open very soon. Once open, shrimpers must operate only from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
DeLancey and other biologists check local waters consistently in the weeks leading up to shrimping season to ensure the shrimp are there for harvest.
The late cold has slowed the crop.
But with federal waters open for shrimping, Magwood has taken a few chances to drop the nets. Some trips are successful, others not so much. Last week, he managed a couple hundred-pound hauls.
Magwood said he is starting to see signs of stuff way off shore. “Hopefully, it's going to be a decent season.” He said DNR biologists are seeing good signs as Magwood's Seafood is slowly starting to open now as shrimp are available. Customers are encouraged to call ahead for shrimp orders. As soon as shrimping season officially begins, both Magwood's Seafood and Geechee Seafood will be open in full swing.
Geechee Seafood is located at 248 Magwood Lane in the Old Village. Call ahead at 843-860-7046.
Magwood's Seafood is located at 110 Haddrell Street in the Old Village. Call ahead at 843-884-3352.
Visit www.dnr.sc.gov/licenses/pdf/trawlingfy2014.pdf to see maps on pages 9-11. Bowed out areas with cross hatching are provisional areas beyond three miles off Charleston jetties for instance.