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Category for Seafood Products & Safety


What We Do


Virginia Sea Grant supports safe and sustainable seafood processing and product development through applied research and extension work. Extension staff at VIMS and Virginia Tech work with the seafood industry to provide marketing and product development assistance, seafood safety information and worker safety training, and equipment calibration and quality assurance.

Extension projects at VIMS include:

Extension projects at Virginia Tech's Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center (VSAREC) include:


Current research and extension work is featured below


Abigail Villalba (Virginia Sea Grant extension at VT) presents at seafood HACCP training in Hampton, VA, on April 4, 2013. ©Janet Krenn/VASG

243 Mid-Atlantic Seafood Processors Get Food Safety Training in 2013

Virginia Sea Grant extension at Virginia Tech offers Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and Good Management Practices (GMP) training for seafood processors. In 2013, 130 members of the seafood processing community received HACCP training. 43 English-speaking and 70 Spanish-speaking received GMP training for a total of 113 people. HACCP training focuses on FDA […]

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.

VA Shellfish farming leads in clam production nation wide. ©Stephanie Chavez/VASG

Shellfish Farming Adds $81M to the Commonwealth

Report of shellfish farming activity finds that oyster and clam farming in VA contributes $81.2 million to the state and added employment of 925 in 2012.

Clams. ©Kathryn Greves/VASG

Shellfish Aquaculture Continues Growth

Virginia’s shellfish growers sold 28.1 million oysters and 171 million clams in 2012, according to an annual survey of shellfish aquaculture operations in the state. Those numbers represent a 21 percent increase in oyster sales, while clam sales have remained fairly stable over the past few years.

The “Virginia Shellfish Aquaculture Situation and Outlook Report” has been produced annually by

Apprentices Mike Ellis and Sean Gonzalez face-off in a cooking competition at the 2013 Chef Seafood Symposium. ©Samantha Cottingham/VASG

Chefs Seafood Symposium: Science Behind the Seafood

The Chefs Seafood Symposium is a Virginia Sea Grant annual event that invites professional, apprentice, and student chefs for a day of learning about seafood and the science behind the products chefs serve.

Global Aquaculture Starts at Home

Global Aquaculture Starts at Home

Talk to any of the five interns at Virginia Tech’s Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center (VSAREC) in the days leading up to the cobia larval run, and the word that you’ll hear is intense. Or as Hannah Mark, a second-year student at Dalhousie University in Canada, puts it: “I’m equal parts excited and terrified.”

Yangyang Zhou. ©Kathryn Greves/VASG

Researching What Williamsburg Residents Want in a CSF

As a Virginia Sea Grant marketing intern, Yangyang is hitting the streets to determine whether a community-supported fishery (CSF) would be viable in Williamsburg.

Katie Thatcher. ©Kathryn Greves/VASG

The Nuts and Bolts Behind Providing Fresh Seafood to Williamsburg

Katie Thatcher is researching organizational, legal, and sustainability framework for the ideal community supported fishery the Williamsburg area.

A group of workers ride a barge to their clam farm in Cherrystone Inlet on Virginia's Eastern Shore. ©Margaret Pizer/VASG

Shellfish Aquaculture a Bright Spot in Weak Economy

Virginia’s oyster aquaculture industry is growing steadily despite the struggling economy and some setbacks in hatchery production, according to a report from Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Virginia Sea Grant.

A youngster tries his first oyster. ©Kim Warner/VASG

Tasting the Bay

Even if you’ve tried raw oysters, you may have never really tasted one. Like wine, oysters grown in different areas taste different because they take on the characteristics of their environment. Simply slurping your oysters means you miss these delicate flavors.

At the second annual Halfshell Oyster Tasting event in November, the Tidewater Oyster Gardeners Association (TOGA) helped more than 200 people learn to really taste oysters. Attendees put their taste buds to the test trying to differentiate oysters from six growers who raise oysters at different places along the Chesapeake Bay. Virginia Sea Grant (VASG) and our extension partners were proud cosponsors of this fun event.

A workshop attendee smells an oyster before tasting it. ©Margaret Pizer/VASG

Oyster Growers Learn How to Stand Out

The new buzzword in oyster marketing is “differentiation” as Virginia Sea Grant Business and Marketing Specialist Dan Kauffman explained at the recent Differentiated Halfshell Marketing Workshop sponsored by Virginia Sea Grant, Virginia Tech, Virginia Marine Products Board, and Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Making Aquaculture Sustainable in Virginia and Beyond

Making Aquaculture Sustainable in Virginia and Beyond

Researchers, watermen, business owners and other aquaculture enthusiasts gathered in Williambsurg for the Virginia Aquaculture Conference.

Dan Sennett stands in a VIMS green house where hundreds of tiny spadefish are swimming in 12 plastic tanks. ©Janet Krenn/VIMS

Taking Spadefish from ‘New Species’ to ‘Aquaculture Species’

Summer Communications Intern Kate Schimel reports on research into the spawning and food needs of the Atlantic spadefish. Studies like these are the first step towards developing a new species for aquaculture.

Community supported fisheries are just one more way to bring fresh, local seafood direct to consumers. ©Janet Krenn/VASG

Would a Community Supported Fishery Work in Virginia?

When you think of eating local, what foods fill your imaginary plate? Maybe you think of vegetables and eggs, but what about fish? Would you even know where to find locally caught or farmed seafood if you wanted it? This spring Virginia Sea Grant will lead a team to determine whether it would make sense for local seafood producers could bring their catch to a community supported fishery.

Scanning electron micrograph of Vibrio vulnificus bacteria. Magnified 13,184 times. ©James Gathany/CDC

A Better Way to Treat Bacteria in Oysters

Virginia oyster growers and researchers found that simply moving oysters to saltier waters before harvest is just as effective at reducing Vibrio as more costly treatment methods, such as high-pressure treatment or low-dose radiation. Local growers secured research funding through Virginia Sea Grant’s partner Fishery Resource Grant Program and may have found an alternative treatment that could save time, money, and jobs.

Anu Frank-Lawale fertilizes oyster eggs in the lab at the VIMS ABC. ©Margaret Pizer/VASG

Selecting for a Better Virginia Oyster

The VIMS Aquaculture Genetics and Breeding Technology Center (ABC) conducts oyster breeding and research aimed at developing oyster breeds that will perform well in oyster farms throughout the state. Triploid oysters, which have three copies of each chromosome instead of the usual two, can be bred in the lab and have a number of characteristics […]

Spadefish. ©Mike Oesterling/VASG

Developing a New Aquaculture Species

Americans eat more fish than we catch, and while some of the difference gets made up by seafood imports, researchers are looking for species of fish that can be grown in the U.S. for human consumption. Michael Schwarz of VT, Dan Sennett of VIMS, and Jesse Trushenski of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale will research […]

Oyster aquaculture could be inpacted by harmful algal blooms. ©Mike Oesterling/VASG

Effect of Algal Blooms on Oysters

Harmful algal blooms occur regularly in the Chesapeake Bay, and these blooms could have negative effects on oysters grown for human consumption and for restoration. Kimberly Reece, Wolfgang Vogelbein, Thomas Harris, and Ryan Carnegie, all from VIMS, will study the effects of algal bloom toxins on larval and adult oysters. By understanding the toxicity of […]

Fish on display in a supermarket. ©istockphoto.com

Mercury in Chesapeake Bay Seafood

When scientists talk about mercury in fish, they often refer to one of three types of broad categories of fish: bottom feeder, middle predator, or top predator. But, says Mike Newman of VIMS, these categories don’t provide consumers with useful information about the risk or benefit of local seafood they might eat. Using samples caught […]

Oysters. ©Margaret Pizer/VASG

Preventing Shellfish-Borne Disease

Adenovirus and norovirus are viruses that can be released from wastewater treatment plants and can contaminate shellfish and cause gastrointestinal illness in people who eat those shellfish. However, routine and reliable methods to measure the presence of norovirus in water have not been developed. This grant will support a student working with Howard Kator and […]

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