On November 6, 2017, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe designated November as Virginia Oyster Month. The designation is intended to call attention to the role of the oyster industry in the Virginia’s current economy and the long heritage of oyster-based communities and cultural events.
Following is an excerpt from the Governor’s Office’s Nov. 6, 2017, news release, Governor McAuliffe Announces November as Virginia Oyster Month:
“’The Commonwealth boasts eight oyster regions, each producing oysters with unique flavors that are as distinct as the water in which they grow,’ [said Gov. McAuliffe]…[According to] Basil Gooden, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, ‘Last year, Virginia sold more than 40 million oysters, which resulted in an $18.5 million economic impact for the Commonwealth.’ [According to] Todd Haymore, Secretary of Commerce and Trade, ‘Agritourism accounts for $2.2 billion in economic impact in the Commonwealth, and the oyster industry is an important part of that story. Our watermen and farmers are now offering educational tours and hands-on experiences, affording them an opportunity to tap into this multi-billion industry and expand their businesses.’ [According to] Molly Ward, Secretary of Natural Resources, ‘Oysters are a keystone species in the ecosystem of the Chesapeake Bay and our coastal waters. Oysters…filter waters and oyster reefs are a critical habitat for many aquatic species of fish, shellfish and other important organisms that ensure clean, productive and healthy waters.’ …In November 2015, Governor McAuliffe announced the launch of the Virginia Oyster Trail, a major tourism development project connecting travelers to Virginia oyster purveyors, raw bars and restaurants, artisans, and the watermen culture throughout Coastal Virginia, the Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula and the Eastern Shore. The Virginia Oyster Trail has been recognized by the U.S. Travel Association, and currently boasts more than 100 sites. There are also many oyster-related festivals, special events, and attractions…. This year marked the 60th anniversary of the Urbanna Oyster Festival, which has also been recognized as the Official Oyster Festival of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
In recognition of Virginia Oyster Month, following are some information resources on oysters in Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay, and elsewhere.
Artisans Center of Virginia, “Virginia Oyster Trail,” online at http://www.virginiaoystertrail.com/.
Chesapeake Bay Program, “Eastern Oyster,” online at http://www.chesapeakebay.net/fieldguide/critter/eastern_oyster.
Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson, Life in the Chesapeake Bay, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2006.
University of Maryland Extension, “Oyster Aquaculture and Education Program, online at https://extension.umd.edu/aquaculture/oysters.
Maryland Sea Grant, “Oysters,” online at http://www.mdsg.umd.edu/topics/oysters/oysters; and “Oyster Aquaculture and Restoration,” online at http://www.mdsg.umd.edu/topics/oysters/oyster-aquaculture-and-restoration.
Clyde L. McKenzie, Jr., “History of Oystering in the United States and Canada, Featuring the Eight Greatest Oyster Estuaries,” Marine Fisheries Review, Vol. 58, No. 4, 1996, available online at http://spo.nwr.noaa.gov/mfr584/mfr5841.pdf.
Roger I. E. Newell and Roger Mann, “Shellfish Aquaculture: Ecosystem Effects, Benthic-Pelagic Coupling and Potential for Nutrient Trading” (report prepared for the Virginia secretary of natural resources), June 21, 2012, available online from the Chesapeake Bay Program at http://www.chesapeakebay.net/channel_files/18087/attachment_v_-_oyster_aquaculture_report_2.pdf.
Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, “Delaware Bay Oysters,” online at http://delawareestuary.org/oysters.
Patricia Samford, Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum/Maryland State Museum of Archeology, “Oyster Wars,” 7/9/13, online at https://jeffersonpatterson.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/oyster-wars/.
Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, “Crassostrea virginica/Eastern Oyster,” online at http://www.sms.si.edu/irlspec/Crassostrea_virginica.htm.
Andrew David Thayer, Mud, Shuck, and Spat, by in Hakai Magazine (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 3/15/16.
Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), “Oysters @ VIMS,” online at http://www.vims.edu/research/topics/oysters/.
Virginia Marine Resources Commission/Conservation and Replenishment Department, online at http://mrc.virginia.gov/replenishment.shtm (offers several oyster-related links).
Virginia Tourism Corporation, “Virginia Oysters,” online at www.virginia.org/oysters.
World Oyster Society, online at http://www.worldoyster.org/index_e.html.
And for two audio takes on oysters, nitrogen, and the Chesapeake Bay, have a listen to Virginia Water Radio Episode 279, 8/24/15 (4 min./23 sec.) and Episode 280, 9/7/15 (4 min./41 sec.).