People lost confidence in eating oysters. Now, we're reaping the rewards of cleaner water.
The recovery of oysters, crabs, and other Bay fisheries will support Virginia’s once-legendary seafood industry and the thousands of jobs that rely on it. To flourish, these fisheries need clean water, healthy habitat, and sound, science-based management.
- Oyster populations are rebounding after decades of overharvesting, pollution, and disease. Virginia can accelerate this recovery by investing annually in oyster replenishment to boost wild harvests and supporting oyster reef restoration. Every $1 spent on oyster replenishment yields $7 in economic benefits in the form of larger harvests and increased jobs.
- After being on the brink of collapse, since 2014 the Bay-wide commercial crab harvest has jumped 71 percent while overall crab abundance has increased by 53 percent. Virginia will need to maintain science-based crab management strategies to continue rebuilding Virginia's blue crab populations and the livelihoods that depend on them.
- Atlantic menhaden support hundreds of jobs in Virginia's reduction and bait fisheries. This small oily fish is also a diet staple of rockfish, bluefish, osprey, and marine mammals. The Commonwealth must adopt science-based menhaden management strategies prescribed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to protect both the menhaden fishery and menhaden's important role in the food chain.