A chance to sell exotic foods in the Asian market is gaining steam off the South Carolina coast. The New York-based Millenarian Trading Company is joining forces with the South Carolina Live Seafood Brokers Inc. to set up a jellyfish harvesting and processing operation in the town of Port Royal.
Seafood Brokers spokesman Steve Giese says jellyfish harvesting and processing is big in Asia and will help those South Carolina fishing families who have a long history of making their money from the sea.
“It will help create a new generational type income for families. It can be passed on from one generation to another. That is what this global Asian market place is bringing to the U.S. fishing industry,” Giese says.
Giese says that as markets go global, everyone is learning that what we might consider a nuisance is actually a delicacy in another part of the world: “It creates unique opportunities. For example, this dried jellyfish operation; who would think that harvesting jellyfish would be viable money-making project for a commercial fisherman.”
The Port Royal Town Council is considering a five-year lease for the docks. The property is owned by the State Ports Authority and will be given to the town as long as the land is sold to a developer. The docks have been vacant since the Port Royal terminal closed nine years ago.
Giese said the South Carolina coastline just happens to be perfect for growing and harvesting cannonball jellyfish.
“This estuary network that we have from the Northern Florida region to Georgia through South Carolina and even through North Carolina is ideal.”
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, but is connected to the open sea.
Giese admits dried jellyfish might not be for everyone, “When you bite into a dried jellyfish it has crisp crunch like a pickle. Giese laughingly says “it’s an acquired taste.”
Giese estimates a processing operation will provide at least 250 jobs.