Shellfish Aquaculture Program

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) is committed to conducting state-of-the-art research and offering world-class education in shellfish aquaculture science. Shellfish aquaculture is an essential element of the economy, environmental health, cultural heritage, and well-being of our coastal communities. Sustainably practiced shellfish aquaculture is essential to the future of seafood production and food security in Virginia, the US, and around the world.


The overarching mission of VIMS' Shellfish Aquaculture Program is to advance and support a thriving sustainable shellfish aquaculture community in Virginia and the United States, through globally relevant shellfish aquaculture science, outreach, and education.

The overall mission of VIMS’ Shellfish Aquaculture Program incorporates four integrated goals:

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Support prosperous and sustainable shellfish aquaculture production

The VIMS Shellfish Aquaculture Program aims to increase understanding of how shellfish aquaculture production can be improved while maximizing environmental sustainability. VIMS Shellfish Aquaculture Program promotes best practices that lead to prosperous and sustainable shellfish production, which in turn supports growers, distributors, and consumers of shellfish. In short, the VIMS Shellfish Aquaculture Program aims to increase the biological capacity of sustainable shellfish aquaculture.

Produce highly capable individuals skilled in and knowledgeable about aquaculture production

In addition, the VIMS Shellfish Aquaculture Program strives to develop an inclusive, highly capable workforce in fields related to shellfish seafood, including production, management, communications, marketing, and policy.

Engaged and empowered communities with the best available shellfish aquaculture science

VIMS Shellfish Aquaculture Program endeavors to provide the best available science to inform and engage communities to empower informed policies and decisions about shellfish aquaculture. Briefly, with these two goals, VIMS Shellfish Aquaculture Program works to increase the human/social capacity needed for sustainable shellfish aquaculture.

Increasing demand and market access for shellfish produced in the United States

Finally, with increased biological and human/social capacity for sustainable shellfish aquaculture, the VIMS Shellfish Aquaculture Program seeks to increase demand and market access for shellfish produced in Virginia and the United States.

VIMS’ Shellfish Aquaculture Program accomplishes these goals by:

  • Encouraging active collaboration among the many research programs at VIMS and partnering organizations that are engaged in the multi-disciplinary science of shellfish aquaculture, regionally, nationally, and internationally;
  • Engaging stakeholders and students in research to solve real-world problems and improve science-based decision making;
  • Training a diverse, capable workforce through education and hands-on training, inclusive of underrepresented groups to meet the needs of the shellfish aquaculture industry today and into the future;
  • Generating and testing innovative technologies that provide practical, actionable benefits to the shellfish aquaculture industry;
  • Serving as a central source of knowledge concerning the practice of shellfish aquaculture and its role in our environment, society, and economy; and
  • Responding to concerns, problems, and opportunities raised by the industry, regulatory agencies, and others, while also looking ahead to identify new challenges and opportunities.
Contact Us

For further information, contact us at:
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
William & Mary
Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062-1346, USA
Phone: 804-684-7000