Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Virginia Marine Resource Report No. 2000-07 Virginia Sea Grant Publication No. VSG-00-13


According to the first-ever Census of Aquaculture conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, gross sales of cultured molluscan shellfish (including seed stock sales) in 1998 exceeded $89,128,000. Clams (primarily Mercenaria mercenaria and Tapes philippanirum) accounted for over $53,428,000, close to 60% of the total aquacultured shellfish production. Based upon the gross value of the reported cultured production, the top 5 producer states were: Washington ($12,148,000); Virginia ($11,049,000); Florida ($9,541,000); New Jersey ($1,574,000); and, Massachusetts ($1,337,000). Other states that had cultured clam production, but could not be separately reported in the USDA Census of Aquaculture, include Maine, Connecticut, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alaska, and California. Within the past decade, the culture of clams has grown dramatically around the United States. Basic approaches to clam culture are very similar nationwide, but because of regional differences, the specifics of culture techniques vary. Additionally, different regions of the country are experiencing unique problems related to industry growth. In an effort to promote a better understanding of the current status of the clam culture industry and to identify potential areas of mutual benefit, representatives of the major clam culture producing states came together to exchange information and perspectives. On February 19, 2000, almost 100 people convened at the Virginia Eastern Shore town of Exmore to participate in this unique opportunity to openly discuss issues and concerns of the clam culture industry. This report contains abstracts or summaries of the presentations given at that meeting. Following the abstracts is a summary of concerns or initiatives identified within the clam culture industry. The meeting was sponsored by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science of the College of William and Mary, in cooperation with the Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program and the Virginia Shellfish Growers Association.



The clam culture workshop and proceedings are the result of funding support by the NOAA Office of Sea Grant, U.S. Department of Commerce, under Grant No. NA56RG0141 to the Virginia Graduate Marine Science Consortium and the Virginia Sea Grant College Program.