[image-1]Shem Creek fishermen had a small victory this week. The Town of Mt. Pleasant has approved a new Saturday morning fish market.

On Tuesday Town Council voted to establish a fish market at the current Farmers Market location at Moultrie Middle School on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Shem Creek shrimper Tommy Edwards says he welcomes the new market. Tommy sells all his catch directly from his boat, but he says a Saturday fish market would give him or his wife the opportunity to not only sell shrimp to more customers but to encourage people to shop direct from his boat during the week

“With me, I don’t have a fish retail spot. What I catch, I have to hustle myself every day,” adds Tommy. “If I have a real good day, I have to get rid of my shrimp.” Bringing his shrimp from the boat to the market should help Tommy, Katherine Hendricks, the town’s assistant administrator, believes.

“Our hope is that we can sign a special event permit with the Shem Creek Fisheries nonprofit and let them handle the market,” says Hendricks. Grace Edwards, Tommy’s wife, runs the Shem Creek Fisheries, an organization that works to support local fishermen, their families, and crew, spoke about the fish market at the town’s economic development committee meeting on Tues. April 5. According to the meeting’s minutes, Grace believes that more than half of the fishermen on Shem Creek don’t have access to a retail outlet and that many have been forced to set up roadside stands. This new market will afford them a more professional outlet to sell.

Grace says at least four shrimp boats will sell their catch at the Mt. Pleasant fish market. “There’s Winds of Fortune, Lady Jane, Miss Judy Too, Easy Lady,” says Grace. “We’ll also have stone crabs from the Crane brothers.”

To help the fishermen out, Hendricks says the market will only allow commercial fisherman to sell. That means no seafood brokers or other retail or food vendors will be allowed. “It will only be fresh catch,” Hendricks says. Or as fresh as possible. Tommy notes that if the weather is bad on Saturday morning, he’d be selling Fridays catch at the market.

We called a few Mt. Pleasant seafood retailers to find out if they felt the new market would impact their sales. Mt. Pleasant Seafood declined to comment. James Simmons of Magwood Seafood, however, says he doesn’t have a problem with it.

If all goes according to plan, Hendricks says the first market could happen as early as Sat. April 23. The Saturday fish market is a trial run and will last through the end of shrimp season.