Va. aquaculture value hits all-time high

Virginia’s shellfish growers sold an estimated 31 million single oysters and 214.4 million clams in 2013 for a farm-gate value of $45.1 million, an all-time high. That’s according to a survey of shellfish aquaculture conducted by William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Virginia Sea Grant.

The survey numbers represent a 10% increase in oyster sales and a 25% increase in clam sales since 2012. While the increase in oyster sales continues a long-term trend of growth, the increase in clam sales represents year-to-year variation in a steady industry.

The report’s authors, Karen Hudson and Tom Murray of the Marine Advisory Services program at VIMS, say that this year’s report shows that the shellfish industry is healthy. Says Murray, “the increase in oyster sales documents what has become a long-term growth trend, while the recent increase in clam sales reflects more typical annual variability of a more mature agricultural industry.”

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