The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) has played an important role in the recovery of the Commonwealth’s oyster industry through its research and educational offerings.
The popular species of oyster found along the Atlantic Coast is named Crassostrea virginica, literally “Virginia oyster,” because of its predominance in Virginia waters, including the Chesapeake and its tributaries. Unfortunately, the wild oyster beds and natural reefs off Virginia’s coastline have been depleted over the last 100 years due to overfishing, pollution, disease and changing water temperature and saline levels.
These factors have caused the industry to migrate towards aquaculture techniques that involve cultivating oysters and closely monitoring their growth phases on and offshore.
VIMS partners with local oyster farms by sharing its scientific and industry research, providing education on sustainable aquaculture techniques, and guiding companies through the regulation process.
This has enabled small businesses to prosper, such as Rappahannock River Oyster Co. Recently featured in national news, the great grandsons of
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