2015 Program

The Virginia Aquaculture Conference agenda is developed by a committee of industry, academic, and partner agencies with efforts to focus on the most timely issues for the culture industries. The latest conference agenda is posted below.

Download the complete conference program: Va Aquaculture Conference Program 2015


Registration +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Trade Show ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++3:00 pm –  9:00 pm
Concurrent sessions+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Bivalve Shellfish: Oyster Farming 101 – Physical production aspects of farm management and associated costs

VAC 2015_Oyster Farming 101_packet

This session will provide practical advice geared towards oyster farmers in the first several years of production and those looking to make the jump from part-time to full-time oyster farming.  A “must-have” packet of resources and information will be provided to session attendees covering a range of subjects including: tips on buying seed, improving shellfish health, safe handling, etc.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity to connect with resources to help your business!

  • Gearing up for Success  Jon Quigley, Chesapeake Bay Oyster Company

Advice for industry, from industry.  Valuable lessons on farm management and scaling up production with an eye towards maximizing your profit.

  • Oyster Budget Tool – how well do you know your costs?  Karen Hudson, VIMS & Dan Kauffman, Va Tech

VIMS / Virginia Tech Cultchless Oyster Budget Link
Demonstration of a budgeting tool modeled after traditional agriculture enterprise budgets to assist growers with financial planning and seeking operating lines of credit.

Finfish/Prawn: Aquaculture Best Management Practices Workshop

Click on the link above for the complete workshop program

Coffee Break and Trade Show ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++3:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Concurrent sessions:+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Bivalve Shellfish: Oyster Farming 101 – Health aspects of farm management
  • Public Health  Danielle Schools, VA Dept. of Health, Division of Shellfish Sanitation


  • Shellfish Health Ryan Carnegie, VIMS



Click on the link above for complete workshop program

  • Producer’s Roundtable – Production and Harvest Challenges with Working Solutions
    • Rainbow Trout and Catfish  Lynn Blackwood, Chairman of the VA Aquafarmers Network
    • Hybrid Striped Bass  John Hofmeyer,  President of VA Aquaculture Association
    • Freshwater Prawn  Charles Carter, Shirley Plantation LLC
Trade Association Meetings +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Shellfish Growers of Virginia – open to members and non members
Virginia Aqua-Farmers Network – VAN member owners and affiliate producers
Gala Aquaculture Reception and Trade Show +++++++++++++++++++++++7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
*Dress is casual *Guest tickets available for purchase
Registration  +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++8:00 am – 10:00 am
Coffee and Light Breakfast  (in trade show area)+++++++++++++++++++++7:30 am –  8:30 am
General Session   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++8:30 am –  10:00 am
General Session:

How one man’s curiosity, passion and foresight influenced the food business: a case study in creative marketing


  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Aquaculture Programs  Jeff Jones, USDA NRCS


An introduction to the bivalve shellfish aquaculture cost share programs offered by NRCS and a look to future possibilities for the finfish/prawn industry

Break and Trade Show ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++10:00 am – 10:30 am
Concurrent sessions: +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Bivalve Shellfish: Business considerations: prices and regulations
  • Oyster Prices – what goes up must come down?  Update on the latest national trends in oyster supply and what changes in supply may mean for prices received by Virginia growers.

PERRET PRESENTATION_Status of Oyster Populations GOM 2015


Moderator: Tom Murray, VIMS

PanelistsAl Sunseri, President of P & J Oyster Company in New Orleans, Louisiana

William “Corky” Perret, retired Deputy Director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources

Over the past several years, Virginia has benefited from the decreased supply of single oysters coming from the Gulf.  The April  2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf lead to over a 50% reduction in Louisiana oyster
harvests. Since that time harvests have been slowly recovering.  What would the impact of a return to pre-spill harvests be on Virginia oyster prices, specifically our boxed/half shell market?  Is that likely to happen? If so, when, and how much might that impact Virginia growers?  At the heart of the discussion is a price model developed by economists at VIMS Marine Advisory Services which take into account oyster landings over the last 5 decades.  Special guest panelists include Gulf industry and resource management leaders who will share their perspectives on the Gulf supply and oyster price model predictions.

  • Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) Update  Mike Oesterling, Shellfish Growers of Virginia


Summary of the October ISSC conference.  Hear about the latest national regulatory news that could impact growers in Virginia.

To learn more about the ISSC : http://www.issc.org

  • Advanced Recirculating Aquaculture Systems for Intensive Land-based Fish Production  John Davidson, Fresh Water Institute
  • Aquaculture Effluent Management Chuck Weirich, North Carolina Sea Grant
  • Building Designs and Considerations for Aquaculture Kirk Deutrick, The Farley Group
  • Virginia Aquaculture Research, Extension, and Educational Support Programming Brian Nerrie, Va State University; Dave Kuhn, Va Tech; Michael Schwarz, Va Tech – VSAREC
Lunch (provided and located in trade show area)+++++++++++++++++++++12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Trade show +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++1:00 pm –1:30 pm
Concurrent sessions:  ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Bivalve Shellfish: Business considerations – environmental risks and threats to production
  • Ocean Acidification – potential threat to Va’s shellfish industry and a proactive approach for shellfish hatcheries 

Reports of ocean acidification impacts on shellfish are all over the news.  The west coast of the US has seen devastating impacts to their shellfish hatcheries.  What does this mean for the Virginia shellfish industry?  Join us for a discussion about ocean acidification, potential implications for Virginia and efforts in place to address this threat.


MOOK PRESENTATION_Ocean Acidification

KUHN PRESENTATION_Ocean Acidification

Panelists:   Elizabeth Shadwick, VIMS

An introduction to acidification processes in coastal systems along the east coast of the US.

Bill Mook, Mook Sea Farm

An industry perspective on a global issue affecting a Maine oyster farm.

Dave Kuhn, Virginia Tech

Potential implications for Virginia growers & collaborative efforts between industry and research in place to address this threat.

  • Trying to be proactive on emerging issues facing shellfish aquaculture

SMALL PRESENTATION_Understanding Triploid Mortality

Triploid mortality  Jessica Moss Small, Assistant Director, Aquaculture Genetics and Breeding Technology Center, VIMS

Over the last several years, oyster growers in the middle Bay area have experienced mortalities in triploid oysters that have typically peaked between mid-May and mid-June.  In 2014, mortality spiked to extreme levels – but why?  A summary of results will be presented of a recently concluded experiment VIMS conducted in collaboration with industry.  Find out what was learned about the potential role of ploidy, genetics, triploid fecundity and environment.

Emerging Industry Challenges 

Hear what the leading aquaculture researchers see as future challenges to a growing shellfish aquaculture industry.


Stan Allen, Director, Aquaculture Genetics and Breeding Technology Center, VIMS

Ryan Carnegie, Research Associate Professor and Director, Shellfish Pathology Laboratory, VIMS

Dave Kuhn, Research Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech

Kimberly Reece, Department Chair Aquatic Health Sciences and Professor of Marine Science, VIMS

  • Overview of the Commercial Aquaculture Health Program Standards Concept Christa Speekmann, USDA/APHIS (*invited)
  • Farming Options for Small-Scale Fish Production in Virginia Brendan Delbos, Aquaneering
  • Live Shipping of Shrimp and Prawns in Waterless Conditions Dan Taylor, Va Tech
  • Hand’s On Aquaponics

Participate in the setup of an Intermediate Bulk container (IBC) system – ideal for small-scale and home use.  Learn all about getting started, the production components, seasonal differences, and food safety regulations.

Brett Koonse, US FDA – Key aspects of the Food Safety Modernization Act(FSMA) for aquaponics

Chris Mullins, Virginia State University  – Plant production components

Brian Nerrie, Virginia State University – Fish production  components