Shem Creek shrimpers hit hard by business closure, ship problems

Shem Creek shrimpers getting by following business closure, ship problems

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - There's a cloud lingering over Shem Creek and it's got nothing to do with the weather.

Shem Creek shrimpers have been hit hard lately.

On Tuesday morning, a boat nearly sank at Magwood Marina. This happens on the heels of Wando Shrimp announcing it's closing down after 65 years in business.

Most would look at these recent events and say Shem Creek has been hit with some bad luck, but the shrimpers Live 5 spoke with say that's got nothing to do with it.

They say high prices of fuel and not enough support from their community has created a recipe for disaster. They say they can't afford the boat maintenance and repairs they used to, and they're barely making profits.

Tommy Edwards has worked to help his fellow shrimpers struggling on Shem Creek.

Edwards and his wife run the Shem Creek Fisheries, a non-profit organization that promotes and supports the local shrimpers.

"We don't want to see it go, this is what we love to do," said Edwards.

Usually they're gathering funds to help other boaters repair their boats.

However, early Tuesday morning, a boater saw that Edwards' boat, Mrs. Judy Too, was much lower in the water than usual. Soon, then they discovered it was full of water.

"Had he not come in, this boat would have been on the bottom of the creek," said Kimberley Carroll, local fisherman.

Edwards says a hole the size of about an inch caused gallons of water to fill the boat. They pumped water out for over three hours, but there may be another hole because it was still leaking hours later.

Edwards says repairs will cost upwards of $10,000.

"Now it's my turn I guess," said Edwards. "Right now, I do need some help."

Carroll says the community needs to step in.

"They're one of the last remaining boats, this is like one of the head boats for the fleet," said Carroll.

Members of the Shem Creek Fisheries tell Live 5 they're going to be hosting a fundraiser very soon to help the Edwards with the costs of repairs. We will keep you updated when details for that are available.

"If you don't support the local fisherman and shrimpers, buying local, and the town backing you 100 percent - there's not going to be any fleet left," said Carroll.

Mount Pleasant hosts a special Blessing of the Fleet event every year to support Shem Creek boaters. That's coming up next month on April 27 at the Memorial Waterfront Park.

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