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Document Type

Book Chapter


Virginia Institute of Marine Science


Mark W. Luckenbach, Roger Mann, James A. Wesson

Publication Date


Book Title

Oyster reef habitat restoration : a synopsis and synthesis of approaches ; proceedings from the symposium, Williamsburg, Virginia, April 1995


VIMS Press


Gloucester Point, VA


Long-term restoration of the Virginia Oyster resource has been assisted by a series of governmental and regulatory initiatives. Following the 1990 Blue Ribbon Panel the Virginia Marine Resources Commission set as goals that the oyster resources and oyster fishery would be so managed as to achieve (a) no net loss of existing standing stock of the native oyster over the next five years, and (b) a doubling of the existing standing stock of the native oyster over the next ten years. The 1994 Chesapeake Bay Aquatic Reef Plan and Oyster Fishery Management Plan both recommended the creation of 5,000 acres (2024 hectares) of oyster reef habitat during the 1995-2000 period. Practical progress toward this goal has been made through the development of several programs including direct application of substrate (cultch) to extant oyster reefs to facilitate settlement and recruitment, enhancement of reefs of the Seaside of the Eastern Shore by exhumation of buried shell, and construction of elevated reef structures in the Virginia subestuaries of the Chesapeake Bay. Efforts in the James River have included subtidal berm type structures capped with shell and a reef constructed entirely of shell. A shell reef has been constructed in the Piankatank River, and construction of several more is planned. All reefs remain as brood stock sanctuaries. Continuing management is supported by quantitative stock assessment.

Oyster Restoration Efforts in Virginia