Thursday, August 8, 2013

Oysters Generate Jobs and Employment

A report on the economics of oyster aquaculture in Virginia was recently published by the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences. The state's oyster industry has been growing rapidly and is over $9million with over 100 direct employees.

Growth of Virginia's Oyster Aquaculture Industry

Chart of Oyster Industry Virginia
Growth of Virginia's Oyster Industry
The direct harvest value of $9.6M is 25% less than that of Massachusetts. With over twice the number of oysters sold, the ASP is considerably lower. 

As to employment 138 direct jobs are directly tied to raising oysters. But the impact up and down the value chain adds another $19.7 million to the Virginia economy. All total oysters drove $29.3 million in Virginia economic activity in 2012. 

One important factor is left out of this equation- that is water quality. Looking at it conservatively, an oyster filters 30 gallons of water per day. The 30 million oysters filtered 900 million gallons of water per day. This translates into 270 billion gallons of filtered water at a cost of ZERO. Imagine how many billion dollars it would cost to do it with filtration plants!   

A growing oyster industry is good news for the oyster and our estuaries. The people involved in the industry have a stake in maintaining water quality and the oysters. This is one reason why oyster restoration is so active in the Chesapeake Bay. There are a lot of people who have a stake in the mollusk's success. Their many voices calling for oyster restoration  have lead their elected representatives to tap the Federal Budget for almost $100 million to prevent the loss of an economic engine. Mass Oyster is working as a catalyst to draw investment in our own estuaries.

You can see the original report here.

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