February 7, 2012
Statement from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on Release Today of Virginia Oyster Harvest Results
(RICHMOND, VA)—Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Virginia Oyster Restoration Scientist Tommy Leggett issued this statement following the release today of Virginia's latest oyster harvest results:
"Virginia's burgeoning oyster harvests underscore the importance of the Chesapeake Bay as an economic engine for Virginia. Even though degraded, the Bay and Virginia rivers produced $22 million in positive economic impact from last year’s oyster harvest alone. To continue to grow Virginia's economy and create jobs, it is critical that the Commonwealth continue efforts to restore oysters and to improve water quality in the Bay and its rivers. Bay and oyster restoration have never been so timely or important.
"Equally important to Virginia is the development of a sustainable oyster aquaculture (oyster farming) industry that employs a method of oyster production that CBF has promoted and supported for years. CBF has operated a commercial-scale oyster farm in Gloucester County, Va., since 2000 and a spat-setting operation at VIMS since 2006. Both facilities are used to help restore oysters and, working with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and other agencies, are used to educate watermen and others about the potential of oyster farming in Chesapeake Bay.
"Continuing with the Virginia oyster management plan and providing continued financial support for oyster replenishment, oyster farming, and water quality improvements—such as upgrading wastewater treatment plants—will only improve the outlook for the Commonwealth's oyster fishery and economy."