Virginia oyster harvest ramps up
January 3, 2014
By Liza Mayer
The largest harvest of Virginia oysters in 25 years – 460,000 bushels – was recorded in the 2012-13 intake year. “This is gratifying news, even better than I’d hoped,” Governor Bob McDonnell said. “Good management has allowed us to put Virginia’s exceptional oysters on dinner plates around the world, creating good jobs and generating new revenue for the state.”
Increased yields from the state’s rapidly growing commercial aquaculture operations contributed to an oyster harvest that was 60% greater than the previous year’s. Some 149,000 bushels were taken from public oyster grounds, and 257,000 from privately leased grounds.
Governor McDonnell acknowledged his administration’s efforts to revive the state’s oyster industry, which include an investment of $2 million. It appears the investment has paid off.
According to state records, Virginia’s oyster harvest totalled just 23,000 bushels in 2001, with a dockside value of only about $575,000. The 2012-13 dockside value was put at $16.2 million.
Commissioner Jack Travelstead expects the upward trend will continue. “This year’s oyster season opened last month, and the initial reports we’re hearing indicate we’re off to a very good start.”