New study could help oyster farmers make informed management decisions to keep farms afloat
Researchers at the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center partnered with University of Maryland Extension faculty on a new study that could help oyster farmers across the country make more informed decisions when managing their farms.
It takes roughly two years for an oyster farmer to harvest oysters from seed and finally go to market, so management decisions made today can have long-term economic implications for oyster farmers. With new oyster production methods trending toward container, off-bottom, and suspended culture, oyster farmers now face management decisions about how to weigh the benefits and risks associated with different production methods when incorporating these emerging technologies.
Virginia Tech faculty and staff from the Seafood Economic Analysis and Marketing Research (SEAMaR) program within the Seafood AREC interviewed oyster farmers in Maryland to assess economic tradeoffs between traditional production methods and newer, more intensive methods within the context of a rapidly evolving aquaculture sector.
Assistant professor in the Virginia Tech School of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Jonathan van Senten, adjunct professor Carole Engle, and laboratory and research specialist Charles Clark are among article co-authors.
The study has been published in Aquaculture Economics and Management at a time when many farmers are still recovering from impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The study provides existing and prospective oyster producers insight into the risks and tradeoffs to consider when developing a unique combination of business model, marketing strategy, scale of production, and production method for their businesses.