Aquaculture is an up-and-coming business in Virginia, planners told
Aquaculture is a thriving business in Virginia, a panel of speakers told the Gloucester County Planning Commission last Thursday night.
As part of its regular monthly meeting in the colonial courthouse, the commission arranged for three state and regional officials to present information about aquaculture, since Gloucester is including aquaculture in a draft ordinance amendment about agribusiness.
T. Robins Buck, project manager of Agribusiness Development Services for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said that aquaculture has proved successful in Virginia by raising saltwater species like clams, shrimp and soft shell crabs, as well as freshwater species that are split between cold water varieties like gold and brook trout and warm water varieties such as tilapia and hybrid striped bass. Another important freshwater component, Buck said, is "bait fish."
Several regulatory agencies enter the aquaculture picture, Buck said, depending on what the proprietor intends to raise. For example, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries regulates tilapia, Virginia Marine Resources Commission regulates hybrid striped bass, and the state Department of Environmental Quality intervenes when certain cage systems and larger size projects are involved.