Oyster Farming

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
1 May 2006, at 1:00am

VIRGINIA - Raising oysters in mesh cages above river bottoms - poses promises and pitfalls in the years ahead, says A.J. Erskine, aquaculture manager for two Northern Neck oyster processors. "It's an interesting time," said Erskine, a 34-year-old graduate of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester County. "Something is getting ready to burst." Disease and overfishing have nearly wiped out the bay area's oysters. Erskine predicts that oyster farming could improve the Chesapeake Bay's poor water quality and provide a more reliable harvest for watermen - who could buy seed oysters from large companies, grow those oysters and then sell them back to the company. But Erskine also sees problems. Government-backed loans might be needed to cover expensive startup costs for small companies. Another pitfall was highlighted last week when waterfront homeowners complained about cluttered waters and unsightly views when a Gloucester County company won approval to put out oyster cages. "We can work something out for the benefit of everybody," Erskine said. Source: Daily Press