MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WBTW) — The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources hosted its final public discussion Thursday night about declines in the blue crab population.

Community members who attended the meeting at the Murrells Inlet Community Center told DNR representatives that there needs to be more limitations and increased monitoring to help protect the blue crab population.

DNR officials have found that the blue crab decline occurs mainly in the fall and that water temperature and salinity impact the population. The decline has been happening since the 1990s.

One solution suggested at the meeting was to not allow out-of-state residents to fish or crab and to put a limit on fishing licenses per year. Others said the DNR should be monitoring the size of crabs that people catch before they take them home.

Gary Weinreich of the group Preserve Murrells Inlet said he thinks these kinds of discussions between state departments and residents are crucial when it comes to maintaining the ecosystem.

“[There] doesn’t seem to be any connection between what we learned from the scientists and the fishery folks and the rules and ordinances and things that are being passed at the county level,” Weinreich said.

DNR officials said they will take the information gathered from Murrells Inlet and other recent meetings and report back to state lawmakers.

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Adrianna Lawrence is a multimedia journalist at News13. Adrianna is originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and joined the News13 team in June 2023 after graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in May 2023. Keep up with Adrianna on Instagram, Facebook, and X, formerly Twitter. You can also read more of her work, here.