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.
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.”
These cobia and spadefish hatched to help scientists refine the larvae production process and determine nutrition needs. As tagged fish, they will have one last opportunity to contribute to science as they live out their lives in the wild.
Virginia’s hard clam industry produces between $20 and $30 million of clams annually, and individual clam farms cover areas ranging from 10’s to 100’s of acres. A Virginia Sea Grant-funded research team led by VIMS faculty members Iris Anderson, Mark Luckenbach, and Mark Brush is investigating the effects of these large-scale aquaculture operations on the flow of nutrients in Bay ecosystems. The results will help managers and clam farmers make sure the industry can function sustainably for years to come.
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 new partnership between Virginia Sea Grant and the College of William and Mary is exploring whether a community-supported fishery is a feasible means to help reverse this trend by promoting greater consumption of locally harvested fish and shellfish.
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.
On November 18, President of Global Aquaculture Alliance George Chamberlain will kick-off the 2011 Virginia Aquaculture Conference with a presentation on global aquaculture sustainability and what it means for Virginian aqua farmers.
Karen Hudson joined the Virginia Sea Grant Marine Extension Program (VASG) in February as the Commercial Shellfish Aquaculture Extension Specialist. "I had wanted this position before they even had this position,” says Hudson, who will act as the bridge between aquaculture researchers and the commercial growers, harvesters, and hatcheries. She adds, “I am really interested in aquaculture and what the industry is doing.”
Virginia’s oyster aquaculture industry is poised to begin its biggest growth spurt ever, according to a report from Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Virginia Sea Grant. In 2010, oyster growers sold over 16 million oysters worth more than $5 million. Growers surveyed expect to sell nearly twice as many oysters in 2011. Following years could increase further, as growers planted three times more oyster seed in 2010 than ever before.