Pilot-scale production economics of C. ariakensis oysters : summary of Virginia Seafood Council industry grow- out trials (2003-2005)
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Pilot-scale production economics of C. ariakensis oysters : summary of Virginia Seafood Council industry grow- out trials (2003-2005)

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    The "Virginia Fishery Resource Grant Program" (VFRGP) was initiated by the Virginia Legislature to "protect and enhance the Commonwealth's coastal fishery resource through the awarding of grants in four areas": 1)New fisheries equipment or gear; 2)Environmental pilot studies on issues including water quality and fisheries habitat; 3)Aquaculture or mariculture of marine-​dependent species; and 4)Seafood technology. The VFRGP is based on the simple approach that experienced fishermen can develop effective ideas for improving productivity or reducing costs. Typically, attempting such an idea or change entails a cash outlay that is too large a risk for an individual fisherman to justify, particularly if benefits from the idea would also be gained by others in the industry. The VFRGP serves to fund just those costs associated with that change in a fisherman's operation so that he or she does not bear all of the risk and expense for improving industry productivity. As part of its ongoing competitive process, the VFRGP funded a two-year initiative to provide overall project management for the Virginia Seafood Council's (VSC) non-native oyster pilot grow-out study. The funding provided for a professional science manager to assist the VSC in conducting the research and serve as a liaison between industry and the various entities interested in research implementation. The position was funded for the two-year grow-out experiment, and information developed as part of this demonstration project is summarized herein. The cooperative Virginia Seafood Council/Virgini​a Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) industry-based field trial was designed to address two main objectives: 1) to determine if growing triploid C. ariakensis in Virginia's Chesapeake Bay and the seaside of the Eastern Shore was economically feasible for both large and small companies; and 2) to produce some initial market assessment of triploid C. ariakensis. In order to determine economic feasibility, each participant agreed to track their input costs including fuel, labor, supplies, etc. This information is meaningful when related to income generated from oysters sold into both half-shell and shucking markets. Another objective of this project involved the evaluation of differing grow-out methods. Several types of gear were used, which enabled some general comparison among grow-out methods and growth of C. ariakensis in various environments
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