Chesapeake Bay Oyster Population Estimation (CBOPE)
 
basin
Virginia Basin Estimates

Chesapeake Bay tributaries in Virginia waters were assigned to the following basin categories: Potomac tributaries (includes Nomini Creek, Coan River, Yeocomico River), Great/Little Wicomico, Rappahannock (includes Corrotoman River), Piankatank, York/Mobjack Bay (includes East, North, Ware, Severn, and Perrin River), Poquoson/Back, James (includes Elizabeth, Lafayette, and Nansemond Rivers), Lynnhaven, and Eastern Shore/Tangier (includes Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds as well as all Bay side tributaries of Virginia's Eastern Shore). These basins are shown on the map below.

 

 

Basin estimates are available for Virginia oyster populations from 1994 through 2008. These basin estimates rely on a variety of different data types that are collected by different agencies and institutions. All data used in Virginia oyster population estimates fall into one of 4 categories: fishery independent, fishery dependent, restoration, or oyster aquaculture. Each of these categories is described briefly below.

 

A. Fishery Independent data - These data are collected during annual patent tong surveys conducted by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. These surveys use a hydraulic patent tong deployed from the research vessel J.B. Baylor which samples 1 square meter of bottom at each sample. 2005 data also reflect the extensive survey of the Lynnhaven River system completed by Dr. Mark Luckenbach and colleagues at the VIMS Eastern Shore Laboratory for the NORM program.

 

B. Fishery Dependent data

B1. Public/Commercial fishery - These data are based on the oyster landings as reported to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission by commercial fishermen. The data are provided for this exercise by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission Fishery Statistics Department.
B2. Private fishery - These data are based on the oyster landings as reported to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission by private leaseholders. The data are provided for this exercise by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission Fishery Statistics Department.

 

C. Restoration Efforts

C1. Reefs - unexploited sanctuaries - since the early 1990s, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission Shellfish Replenishment program in collaboration with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and other state and federal agencies has been actively building three dimensional reefs in an effort to restore some of oyster reef habitat that was historically dominant in the lower Chesapeake Bay. These reefs are sanctuaries for oysters in that the oysters are neither fished nor disturbed and these reefs serve as sources of oyster larvae for the surrounding waters. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission Shellfish Replenishment program conducts annual surveys of the oyster populations on these reefs. These data are provided courtesy of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission Shellfish Replenishment Program.

C2. Replenishment areas - exploited shellplants and reefs - each year the Virginia Marine Resources Commission Shellfish Replenishment program plants shell and oyster seed at various sites in Virginia's tributaries to enhance fishery production and restoration activities. The data on the number of oysters planted by location were obtained from the annual Virginia Marine Resources Commission Shellfish Replenishment program Repletion reports.

 

D. Oyster Aquaculture

D1. Oyster gardening/planting - Data on oyster planting activity by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation are provided courtesy of Mr. Tommy Leggett and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and detail oyster planting on constructed sanctuary reefs in Virginia waters by private citizens, students, and other groups. This category also includes broodstock oysters planted on sanctuary reefs in the Great Wicomico River during 2004, 2005, and 2006 as part of ongoing native oyster restoration efforts by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, NOAA Chesapeake Bay office, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (see www. vims.edu/mollusc/NORM for additional details).

Annual estimates of oyster populations within Virginia's basins made with these data categories are available for:


Year

Date available

Date last modified

09.02.2005

09.01.2005

09.02.2005

09.01.2005

09.02.2005

09.01.2005

09.02.2005

09.01.2005

09.02.2003

09.01.2005

09.02.2003

09.01.2005

09.02.2003

09.01.2005

09.02.2003

09.01.2005

09.02.2003

09.01.2005

11.28.2004

09.01.2005

03.22.2006

03.22.2006

03.02.2007

03.02.2007

02.13.2008

02.13.2008

02.04.2009

02.04.2009

02.23.2010

02.23.2010

 

 

 


Please note that VA Basin estimates for 2005 are in DRAFT format as of 2/23/2010. The posted 2005 estimates reflect fishery dependent data that were available as of 2/23/2010. As additional data become available THE 2005 ESTIMATES WILL CHANGE. Please refer back to this web site for updated estimates for VA Basins in 2005.

Annual basin estimates of oyster population numbers and biomass (g dry tissue) are useful for describing trends in Virginia's oyster population over time. View graph of Virginia oyster numbers and biomass in the period 1994-2008.

 
Document last modified 02.23.2010
A collaboration between:
Maryland Department of Natural Resources Sarbanes Cooperative Oxford Laboratory
University of Maryland Marine Estuarine and Environmental Studies Program
Virginia Institute of Marine Science Department of Fisheries Science Molluscan Ecology Program
Virginia Marine Resources Commission Conservation and Replenishment Division
This web site is maintained at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science