Virginia has long led the nation in growing hard clams, and the latest numbers don't disappoint: The state's aquaculture industry reported an all-time high of 243 million hard clams sold last year.

Oyster farmers, too, reported their best numbers ever in a culture fishery that's still relatively new, selling 39.8 million oysters.

Together, the two shellfish aquaculture industries made a record $56 million in sales — about $39 million for clams and $17 million for oysters.

"We continue to be strong, and our industry continues to be strong and continues to grow in the oyster culture, specifically," said Karen Hudson at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) in Gloucester Point. "It's exciting for the state, it's a lot of revenue that comes into the commonwealth, and it's a lot of jobs."

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