Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

VIMS Department/Program

Marine Advisory Program (MAP)

Publication Date



Fishery Resource Grant FRG 2012- 11


Oyster aquaculture in Virginia is a rapidly developing industry with greater than 75 million oysters planted in 2010, this compared to just 6 million in 2005 (Murray and Hudson 2011). Necessary to support this rapid development, among other things, is a large and consistent supply of larval and seed oysters, from which oyster growers start their crops. Providing this product to the aquaculture industry are hatcheries.

Hatcheries represent the tip of the pyramid in oyster aquaculture. Only a few hatcheries with a handful of workers support a much larger industry of many growout operations collectively employing hundreds of workers. Hatcheries offer advantages over collecting and rearing wild seed in that hatchery seed can be produced from disease resistant broodstock, made to be sterile (increasing its survival, growth rate, and meat yield) and are generally of higher quality and uniformity. These hatchery tricks offer to the grower important advantages that have helped to make their operations successful, driving the rapid development of the industry.


oyster aquaculture