Promoting and increasing oyster aquaculture is another essential pillar of the Chesapeake Oyster Alliance.
Oyster aquaculture has tremendous potential for achieving ecological benefits while providing economic opportunities for coastal communities. In the Chesapeake Bay region, aquaculture supports a more than $30 million industry, mostly in Virginia. While aquaculture in Virginia has grown precipitously in the last decade, adoption of aquaculture in Maryland has been slow due to social, cultural, and technical barriers.
In addition to economic benefits, oyster aquaculture was also recently recognized by the Chesapeake Bay Program as a best management practice for the removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from Chesapeake Bay.
The Chesapeake Oyster Alliance will support the continued growth of these industries to provide economic development opportunities, enhance water quality, reduce fishing effort on wild oyster stocks, and provide novel habitat for commercial and recreational fishes.