CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — The shellfish harvesting season in South Carolina ends on May 31, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

State and public shellfish grounds will close 30 minutes after official sunset, the DNR said.

Harvesting oysters, mussels, clams, and other bivalves in the summer months can be dangerous because bacterial levels increase when the water temperature exceeds 80 degrees. The season will reopen to the public in the fall once temperatures begin to drop, likely around Oct. 1.

Commercial harvesters, “who can meet rigorous handling requirements,” will still be allowed to harvest during the summer months.

Residents are encouraged to recycle shells through the South Carolina Oyster Recycling and Enhancement program. Shells dropped off at any of these sites are returned to the shorelines where they “provide an ideal base for juvenile oysters to attach and grow, thereby replenishing harvested beds,” the DNR said.