Company looks to set up jellyfish operation in Beaufort County - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Company looks to set up jellyfish operation in Beaufort County

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BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) -

Jellyballs are a popular Asian delicacy.

One company is looking to capitalize on that demand by setting up a processing plant right here in the Lowcountry.

This isn't the first time they've tried to set up shop.

Cannonball jellyfish, commonly known as jellyballs, can be eaten dried or instant.

They're often served on salads in Asian countries.

Carolina Jellyballs is trying to set up a jellyball processing plant in Beaufort County.

"It's zoned industrial so it's zone basically incorporates their project, but they would need to get a special use permit in order to set up shop there," said Gerald Dawson, Beaufort County Councilman District 1.

Located in the Seabrook community, it's the former site of the Lobeco Chemical Company which closed down a few years ago. Some skeptics are concerned a jellyfish processing plant could contaminate air and water quality.

"There's already contamination at that site from former operations," said Dawson.

Carolina Jellyballs spokesman Steven Giese said the location will help minimize any odor issues.

"The process is one simple step: it goes into a vat of salt, 98% salt, 2% aluminum sulfate, so there's virtually no negative impact to the waterways whatsoever."

Back in late 2012, Giese approached the town of Port Royal to use the shrimp docks as an unloading site. Giese even did a public demonstration, but town officials say it didn't go much farther.

"We were very cooperative until next time they came to us, we found that they had not paid all the bills that they had incurred as part of this demonstration. So we told them if they cleared up those bills, we'd be happy to talk to them again, but we've never talked to them since," said Port Royal Councilman Joe Lee.  

Giese says they eventually paid for the bill and insisted they are currently paying to use the docks.

Dawson says he doesn't think Carolina Jellyballs is the best fit for Beaufort County but is willing to support what's best for the citizens.

Councilman Dawson has organized a public meeting to discuss the idea of having Carolina Jellyballs in the county. The meeting is scheduled for Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. at the James Davis Elementary School.

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