About the Alliance

Photo Credit: Erika Nortemann

Increasing Oyster Aquaculture

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.

Note: While restaurants around the region are closing their doors due to the COVID-19 crisis, our partners are figuring out new ways to bring the tasty bivalve to your plate. Find out where to buy Chesapeake Bay-farmed oysters and help a local company that is helping to save the Bay.

Farming Oysters with an Adjustable Longline

Alex Lambert of Lambert Shellfish demonstrates the adjustable longline technique used in oyster aquaculture. Lambert, based on Virginia's Eastern Shore, is one of many growers working together with restoration efforts to add 10 billion new oysters to the Bay as part of the Chesapeake Oyster Alliance.