Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Virginia was the leading producer of oysters, Crassostrea virginica, as recently as the late 1950's, when landings of market oysters from the 243,000 acres of public grounds was about 700,000 bushels (Hargis and Haven, 1988). Beginning about 1960, a major decline in market oyster production occurred, principally the result of two oyster pathogens, Haplosporidium nelsoni (MSX) and Perkinsus marinus ( Dermo) . These pathogens have essentially decimated productive oyster grounds in the main stem of Chesapeake Bay as well as the lower portions of all the major rivers. Market oyster landings from public grounds had declined to 328,338 bushels in 1985-86. Remaining populations of commercially harvested oysters are harvested from public grounds located in isolated, upriver areas because the pathogens favor salinity in excess of 12 ppt. The most notable of these is in the James River.



Oyster culture -- Virginia -- James River; Oyster populations -- Virginia -- James River