ABOUT THE INDUSTRY
The shellfish industry benefits all of us. It even helps the environment!
The shellfish culture industry of Virginia provides a significant economic benefit to the Commonwealth, with an annual dockside value of $65-million and a total impact well over $100-million. With a majority of shellfish culture sales occurring outside the state, the shellfish culture industry is generating “new” money and not just circulating in-state revenues. The shellfish culture industry is proud of our contributions to the economy of the Commonwealth, but is equally proud of our environmental benefits as well. Shellfish culture is truly a “green” industry, with our crops continually helping to clean the Chesapeake Bay by removing excess nutrients and providing habitat for other species. Virginia ranks as the top producer of clams in the United States and is first on the east coast for oyster production.
Total dockside value for shellfish in Virginia in 2020 equaled $65,000,000 (VMRC data). Virginia's commercial watermen annually harvest enough seafood to produce over 123,000,000 meals. Oysters and clams are the at the top of the list of most consumed Virginia produced seafood.
• Sales of oysters (public and private harvest) exceeding $60 million, according to the 2018 USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service report.
There were 134 active oyster farms in Virginia in 2018 (compared to only 60 in 2013). Spat-on-shell production exceeded 42,600 bushels, for another $2,000,000 in farm gate value.
• Virginia shellfish hatcheries sold 2,900,000,000 oyster larvae for extensive spat-on-shell production and over 264,000,000 individual oyster seed.
Aquaculture Landings (Virginia Marine Resources Commission 2021)
Species Poundage Dollar Value
Eastern Oyster 2,588,785 $21,910,059.54
Hard Clam 3,642,861 $31,872,910.86
• Shellfish aquaculture employs hundreds of full and part time workers.
• Cultured shellfish improve the environment by providing habitat for other species and removing nutrients from the water by incorporating them into their shells and tissue.
Shellfish Growers of Virginia is a trade association incorporated within Virginia. Our mission is to conduct activities necessary for the advancement, expansion and well-being of the shellfish aquaculture industry of Virginia. To accomplish our mission, we have several objectives:
1. To advocate just and proper laws and regulations that impact shellfish aquaculture.
2. To promote public education of the shellfish aquaculture industry.
3. To provide a medium of exchange of experiences and discussions of industry problems.
4. To promote and develop cooperation and friendly relationships among our members.
If your shellfish farm, your organization, or any group would like to learn more about the Virginia shellfish aquaculture industry or to learn more about the Shellfish Growers of Virginia please contact Ben Stagg, SGV Executive Director, who would be happy to meet with you or to speak at your next event.