Community meeting to discuss to jellyball processing plant - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Community meeting to discuss to jellyball processing plant

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People in Beaufort County will get their chance to weigh in on Cannonball Jellyfish, otherwise known as jellyballs.

They're a popular Asian delicacy that can be eaten instant or died.

A company called Carolina Jellyballs is setting its sights on the old Lobeco Chemical Company in Seabrook to create a processing facility.

There seems to be a lot of opposition to this company but there are some locals who are all for it. 

One local fisherman, who has been in the seafood industry for almost 30 years, said this type of business could be a great benefit to Beaufort County if the right pieces fell into place.

Craig Reaves is the owner of Sea Eagle Market in Beaufort. The business provides shrimp, fish, oysters and just about any other seafood to its customers.

"We're definitely vested in the seafood industry," he said.  

Reaves has been researching Carolina Jellyballs' operations and says there's seems to be a lot of misinformation out there.

"I believe there's a lot of irrational fear out there, it's a positive thing for the shrimpin' industry because it gives us a way to work through the winter," said Reaves.

He said he's met with Carolina Jellyballs and even toured a processing plant in Darien, Georgia. So far he hasn't seen any signs of environmental harm.

"It's one state over and there's no evidence that it's had a negative impact at all," he added.  

Carolina Jellyballs CEO Steve Giese says the company has the potential to bring in $10-15 million to Beaufort County as well as create almost 400 jobs. They are set to start unloading at the St. Helena docks by Feb. 22.

"As long as we have a good clean facility, we have good BMPs in place to manage the facility, we're pretty confident the community will support this and be very happy with the operations we have here," said Giese.

Giese also says Thursday's community meeting will feature some engineering experts who can hopefully better explain just what this processing plant could mean for Beaufort County.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the James Davis Elementary School.

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