Pilot-Scale Production Economics of C. ariakensis Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay Public Deposited

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  • The Virginia Fishery Resource Grant Program funded a two year grow-out trial to assess the feasibility and economic activity associated with proposed introduction of non-native oysters in Virginia's Chesapeake Bay waters. This paper summarizes the results of the trials which were conducted to address two main objectives: determine the economic feasibility of culturing triploid C. ariakensis oysters for both large and small growers; and to produce initial market acceptance and price information for use in the federal government’s Environmental Impact Assessment conducted to evaluate the introduction. Grow-out methods utilized were varied at 10 different grow-out sites. This paper presents findings regarding the relative productivity of grow-out methods by site, and bio-economic and market acceptance data collected over the two year trial period. The bio-economic data was summarized for each site and associated grow-out cost and earnings were developed with which to assess profitability of the C. ariakensis culture at various scales. Significant findings of the work include the results of diverse marketing strategies employed by each grower as well as comparative crop budgets for the C. ariakensis relative to the traditional species of Chesapeake Bay oyster C. virginica. The information developed showed C. ariakensis deployed at all sites grew very well compared to native stocks and generally obtained market size during one year. The project results indicate that culturing triploid C. ariakensis is feasible in Virginia waters even under relatively rigid grow-out protocols. Using existing aquaculture techniques, it appears as a result of this research that a relatively small investment of $1,500 to $10,000 when combined with skilled shellfish culture management can realistically grow 100,000 triploid C. ariakensis with gross returns ranging from $18,600 to $23,000.
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  • Murray, Thomas J. 2006. Pilot-Scale Production Economics of C. ariakensis Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. In: Proceedings of the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, July 11-14, 2006, Portsmouth, UK: Rebuilding Fisheries in an Uncertain Environment. Compiled by Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, Corvallis, Oregon, USA, 2006. CD ROM. ISBN 0-9763432-3-1
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