On the Waterfront:
Aberdeen Creek, Restarting an Economic Engine in Gloucester

The commercial seafood business in Gloucester County, Virginia has historically played an important role in the state’s seafood industry. Aberdeen Creek is an area which was once home to Gloucester Seafood, Inc., and is one of the few remaining commercial fishing unloading points in the County. But commercial work boats are having an increasingly difficult time navigating the Aberdeen Creek area. When a viable processing plant was located on Aberdeen Creek there was sufficient boat activity to create natural dredging which benefited all boat traffic. The property is currently owned, in part, by the County.

“Gloucester Seafood was an important facility at Aberdeen Creek. When they went under, the watermen could no longer unload there so the natural dredging didn’t take place. When boats stop coming and going, it gets filled in,” says Tom Murray, a recently retired Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) extension staff member who was affiliated with Virginia Sea Grant. “People in the community who are interested in economic activity, particularly in the seafood-related industry, wanted to see possible ways of funding ongoing dredging there, and also if it were re-vitalized what sort of economic impact it could have.”

In 2015, Murray conducted a study to determine if dredging the area of Aberdeen Creek would provide enough economic benefits to offset the costs. In addition, he looked at the possible economic impact of restoring a processing facility at the now defunct site.

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