Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Journal of Shellfish Research
The Chesapeake Bay oyster fishery for Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin) is in a state of continuing decline. Two diseases, Haplosporidium nelsoni and Perkinsus marinus have effectively eliminated oysters from many sections of the Bay. Despite over 30 years of disease activity the native oysters have developed neither tolerance nor absolute resistance to these diseases, and do not exhibit any recovery in disease endemic areas in Virginia. Repletion programs have completely failed to recover to permanent production areas lost to disease. Present fishery management activities are limited to a controlled retreat away from the disease in an arena where disease distribution is salinity and temperature (and hence climate) related and, therefore, beyond human influence. Disease resistance is the pivotal issue. This commentary builds on the reality that without resistance to both diseases no recovery to sustained, stable production on all formerly productive oyster bottom is possible. It is improbable that such resistance can be developed in Crassostrea virginica. A consideration is made of the case for introduction of a non-endemic species, Crassostrea gigas (Thunberg) to assist in attaining this goal.
Crassostrea gigas, oyster, introductions
Mann, Roger L.; Burreson, Eugene M.; and Baker, Patrick K., The Decline Of The Virginia Oyster Fishery In Chesapeake Bay Considerations For Introduction Of A Non-Endemic Species, Crassostrea gigas (Thunberg, 1793) (1991). Journal of Shellfish Research, 10(2), 379-388.