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‘Seafood School’ Trains Students for Commercial Fishing and Mariculture Careers

By Eva Moore  |  Photos by Angela Treptow, S.C. Sea Grant Consortium


Graduates of a new month-long apprenticeship program in coastal South Carolina hope to find jobs in the commercial fishing and mariculture industries.

The inaugural class of the South Carolina Commercial Seafood Apprenticeship Programrecently wrapped up. The group of six participants met daily in a classroom at the back of a former public school in the fishing village of McClellanville. The program provides housing and food, with a $1,000 stipend upon completion of the program.

The participants learned about topics including safety, seamanship, and navigation; small engine maintenance; welding; fisheries science; raising oysters and clams; and seafood business and marketing. In addition to periodic hands-on learning sessions throughout the month, they also spent two days at sea.

Sustainability and the longevity of the seafood industry were a key point.

“If you overharvest, you won’t have any for the next generation,” one participant explained.

The program seeks to match students up with jobs when they finish the program. Co-director Jocelyn Juliano says the participants came ready to start working in the industry.

“They are so eager to get started – they want to jump right in,” Juliano said. “Next time, we want to have job descriptions ahead of time from industry members looking to hire so the participants can meet the business owners right away and set up some jobs.”

Juliano is a program specialist at the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, which created and administers the program.

The program is supported by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Agribusiness Center for Research and Entrepreneurship, the McClellanville Community Foundation, the McClellanville Watermen’s Association, Clemson Cooperative Extension, a USDA Rural Business Development Grant, and the NOAA National Sea Grant Office.

In addition to the stipend and job connections, participants received a CPR, First Aid and automated external defibrillator certification, a U.S. Coast Guard Drill Conductor certification, and a certificate of completion from SC Sea Grant Consortium.

South Carolina’s seafood industry faces challenges including an aging workforce, aging dock space and facilities, competition from imported seafood, and development pressures that threaten marine ecosystems.

The program is an important step in developing a recruitment pipeline for those seeking jobs in seafood and mariculture.

To learn more and to sign up for notifications about the 2025 program, please contact the program coordinator, Angela Treptow, at You can also learn more about the program online at

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