Virginia Tech® home

About the Center

Loading player for

The mission of the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center is to provide education, scientific, and technical guidance, support and leadership to the commercial seafood and aquaculture industries throughout Virginia and the United States.

Virginia Seafood AREC team in front of new facility.

History of the AREC

The Seafood AREC was established in 1975, and is located in Hampton, Virginia. The center recently moved from its facility at 102 S King St to an updated and expanded facility located next door at 15 Rudd Lane.

Meet our new facility

Thumbnail for video shows new VSAREC facility behind the old one.

Faculty and staff work collaboratively with other researchers, Extension agents, and industry to address the challenges and needs of our seafood and aquaculture stakeholders; ensuring safe, sustainable, and wholesome seafood for all of us to enjoy. Core research and extension programs at the Center include engineering efforts focused on validation of post harvest processing methods for molluscan shellfish, thermal and freezing processes, energy audits, and waste management. The Center currently functions as a regional HACCP training center.

The Center is recognized as a center of excellence for live feeds and hatchery production technologies. The aquaculture program is highly adjustable and responsive to stakeholder needs, with the capacity to operate freshwater, brackish, and saltwater systems. The recirculating aquaculture programs focus on system design and operation, larviculture, fish feeds and nutrition, environmental optimization, and disease control for marine species. 

In addition to fisheries research facilities and classrooms, on-site facilities include microbiological laboratories where researchers advance technology in cellular agriculture, alternative proteins, and sustainable food systems. Interwoven with other core center programs, research in economics and marketing covers areas of business development, assessing regulatory challenges facing aquaculture producers, and capturing the economic impact of industry sectors to strengthen economic competitiveness.

Vision Statement

The Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center supports the goals and objectives of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University's academic agenda for the new millennium. Faculty at the center envision establishment of multidisciplinary, scientific, and educational research and Extension programs between university, government and private industry on a statewide, national and international basis. This approach will enhance cooperation between center faculty and their home departments in Food Science and Technology, Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, Agriculture and Applied Economics, and Biological Systems Engineering. Specifically, the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center will:

  • Establish scientific and educational interfaces between Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, other educational/research institutions, government agencies and private industries to create safe and wholesome commercial seafood and aquaculture products.
  • Provide research and Extension support to the commercial seafood and aquaculture industries to enhance the overall quality of life for citizens in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • Increase scientific recognition of the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center programs via dedicated faculty participation in statewide, national and internationally recognized research and Extension programs.