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Category for Fisheries & Aquaculture


What We Do


Virginia Sea Grant aims to maintain sustainable and thriving commercial and recreational fisheries and aquaculture production in Virginia through cutting edge research and "feet on the boat" extension work. Extension staff at VIMS and Virginia Tech specialize in fishing gear design, recreational fisheries, and finfish and shellfish aquaculture.

Extension projects include:


Current research and extension work is featured below


2013 Shellfish Report

VA Shellfish Aquaculture Worth $45M in 2013, Up 24% from 2012

According to annual report, Virginia’s shellfish aquaculture industry continues growing, reaching all-time sales and production highs in 2013.

Which Fish Is Better? It’s a Matter of Opinion

Which Fish Is Better? It’s a Matter of Opinion

Virginia Sea Grant research into the minds of consumers reveals to opinions about quality of aquaculture and wild-caught seafood.

Good Eats: Keeping Half-Shell Oysters Safe (Aquaculture Conference Part 3)

Good Eats: Keeping Half-Shell Oysters Safe (Aquaculture Conference Part 3)

A hot topic at the 2013 Virginia Aquaculture Conference this past November was how to maintain the safe consumption of raw oysters and better understand the science that directs industry harvest regulations.

An aqua-farmer plants clam 'seed,' tiny finger-nail sized animals that will be tended to until they grow to market size.

Is Aquaculture Agriculture? (Aquaculture Conference Part 2)

In the end, there are many definitions for aquaculture or agriculture, and none of them are universal.

Virginia Aquaculture Conference (Part 1)

Virginia Aquaculture Conference (Part 1)

Virginia’s bi-annual conference for fish farmers, held in Newport News on November 15 and 16 of last year, drew more than 100 finfish and shellfish growers.

Annie Murphy records data at Cherrystone Inlet in Virginia. ©Margaret Pizer/VASG

VASG Fellow Looks at Clams Through an International Lens

When Annie Murphy came to Virginia to study nutrients in Chesapeake Bay, she didn’t expect her studies would lead her to Italy.

Representatives of the U.S. Navy discuss food service needs at the 2013 Value Added Seafood Workshop. ©Jennifer Armstrong/VASG

Workshop Provides ‘Practical’ Advice for Industry to Add Value to Seafood

Members of the seafood processing industry learned how to make more with less at Virginia Sea Grant’s 2013 Value-Added Seafood Marketing Workshop.

Taking underwater photos of wild cownose ray is incredibly difficult in the Chesapeake Bay because of the turbulent, murky waters. These photos show cownose ray during feeding time at the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach. ©Bob Fisher/VASG

Cownose Ray Research Finds Challenges to Opening a Fishery

The cownose ray has been in the industry crosshairs ever since they’ve been seen gobbling up shellfish crops. As industry considers the range of options for keeping rays off shellfish farms, including developing a commercial fishery, new research about cownose ray biology may help in making those decisions.

Collaborative Fisheries Research Helps Industry and Sea Turtles

Collaborative Fisheries Research Helps Industry and Sea Turtles

Through collaborative fisheries research, scientists and industry have been able to eliminate the accidental catch of sea turtles in shrimp fisheries from French Guiana to Gabon. In 2014, Tony Nalovic and Troy Hartley are hoping to promote similar initiatives throughout the world.

VASG Reaches Out for Potential CSF Leaders in Williamsburg

VASG Reaches Out for Potential CSF Leaders in Williamsburg

To help launch a CSF, Virginia Sea Grant is inviting anyone interested to submit a Statement of Interest by January 10, 2013. (You can find the Instructions and form here: http://bit.ly/vasg-csf-lead )

Oct. 16 Workshop Looks for CSF Coordinator in Williamsburg

Oct. 16 Workshop Looks for CSF Coordinator in Williamsburg

Market research shows that Williamsburg has enough demand for a business where seafood eaters purchase a share of a season’s fish harvest in exchange for regular deliveries. Now, Virginia Sea Grant is hosting a workshop for those interested in starting a community supported fishery.

Virginia Sea Grant Director Troy Hartley conducts network analysis to help better manage fisheries. ©Janet Krenn/VASG

VASG Director Helps Review U.S. Fish Population Plans

The National Academies report contains the panel’s findings as well as interactive charts and graphs on the status of U.S. fish populations.

Smokestacks. ©Uwe Hermann

Graduate Fellow Studies Mercury Contamination in Seafood (Part 2)

by Margaret Pizer This is part two of a two part series on Xiaoyu Xu’s research on mercury in seafood. Click here to read part one. Following the Mercury Much of the mercury that gets deposited in the U.S. comes from burning fossil fuels. About half comes from U.S. emissions, but the other half comes […]

Graduate Fellow Studies Mercury Contamination in Seafood (Part 1)

Graduate Fellow Studies Mercury Contamination in Seafood (Part 1)

When Xiaoyu Xu asked people in Tidewater Virginia about their seafood consumption habits, she found a lot of confusion.

Fellowship Grants Get Science Out of the Lab (Part 2)

Fellowship Grants Get Science Out of the Lab (Part 2)

Virginia Sea Grant Fellows Mark Stratton and Ryan Schloesser are conducting research about fish populations. With the support of his Virginia Sea Grant Graduate Research Fellowship, he’ll be able to share that knowledge with fisheries managers who need it.

A Community Supported Fishery (CSF) for Williamsburg?

A Community Supported Fishery (CSF) for Williamsburg?

With its proximity of the Chesapeake Bay, Williamsburg is an obvious location for a community supported fishery to thrive. To further investigate the potential for a CSF in Williamsburg, an interdisciplinary student and faculty team conducted a feasibility study. This study can be separated into three major sections: market research, organizational design, and supplier research.

Workers demonstrated picking red crab. ©Stephanie Chavez/VASG

Red Crab Debuts at Hampton Processors

The Atlantic red crab came to Hampton on June 26—just in time for the 4th of July. It was the first of many shipments that will total 1 million pounds by the end of the year. Harvested from deep waters off the coast of North Carolina, the Atlantic red crab was dropped off at L.D. Amory and Co. Inc, and then moved a few hundred feet to Graham & Rollins Inc. to be steamed and picked.

Selecting a Better Oyster (Part 3): Picking Parents for the Best Traits

Selecting a Better Oyster (Part 3): Picking Parents for the Best Traits

Virginia Sea Grant funded researchers develop a strategy for breeding oysters with improved disease resistance and other profitable characteristics for Virginia’s oyster aquaculture industry.

Stan Allen takes a microscopic view on oysters. ©Margaret Pizer/VASG

Selecting a Better Oyster (Part 2): Back from the Brink

Bringing oysters and industry back after almost a century of disease decimated wild populations was part science, part serendipity.

Selecting a Better Oyster (Part 1): Sea Grant Research Supports Industry Growth

Selecting a Better Oyster (Part 1): Sea Grant Research Supports Industry Growth

VASG-funded researchers want to improve the bottom line for Virginia’s oyster growers by selectively breeding oysters with more profitable traits.

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