Virginia Institute of Marine Science


  • Oyster Aquaculture Interns
    Oyster Aquaculture Interns
    The 2014 OAT interns (L to R) Kemarin Kim, Cailan Murray, Brittany Wolfe, Hunter Tipton, and Ryan Bethea during a reception held in their honor on the VIMS campus.
    Photo by Erin Fryer
  • Learning the ropes
    Learning the ropes
    OAT intern Kemarin Kim will take the experience he gained in the VIMS oyster hatchery and apply that in his new position at Cherrystone Aquafarms.
    Photo by Erin Fryer
  • At the scope
    At the scope
    OAT intern Ryan Bethea analyzes some samples in the VIMS oyster hatchery.
    Photo by Erin Fryer
  • OATs and ABC
    OATs and ABC
    (L to R) VIMS Hatchery Specialist Amanda Chesler, OAT interns Kemarin Kim, Cailan Murray, Brittany Wolfe, Hunter Tipton, and Ryan Bethea, and Director of ABC Stan Allen.
    Photo by Erin Fryer
  • Hatchery
    OAT intern Brittany Wolfe hard at work in the VIMS oyster hatchery.
    Photo by Erin Fryer

Oyster aquaculture in general, and specifically in the Chesapeake Bay, is undergoing extraordinary growth with a concomitant demand for trained technical and support staff.  ABC at VIMS offers training opportunities in oyster aquaculture during our hatchery and nursery seasons.  These opportunities are of two types: full term (that is, season long) and short term (generally, a week or two). 

Oyster Aquaculture Training program (full term)

The Oyster Aquaculture Training (OAT) program is funded by non-State private funding.  In short, the program offers prospective shellfish aquaculturists an opportunity to learn about all aspects of oyster culture, from hatchery to field operations – essentially, it is oyster culture “boot camp.”  In the past, many of these trainees have ended up in local businesses, and some have gone far afield.  Consideration is afforded all applicants who demonstrate a desire and aptitude for oyster aquaculture. The program draws from a national pool.

Our intention is to provide skilled people to the industry, with a priority to Virginia businesses.  Companies may contact ABC if they anticipate a need for new employees and could benefit from obtaining a trained individual from the program. 

Click here for the full OAT program description or OAT brochure.

Short-term / refresher training (short term)

Because hatchery, nursery, and field operations are in full swing during OAT training period, ABC can offer short training opportunities to existing businesses, customized to a particular area, e.g., larval culture, algal culture, or nursery operation.

To be eligible for short-term training opportunities, the candidate must be currently employed in a business related to aquaculture.  The length of time for the training is negotiable.  Trainees will be accommodated on a first come – first serve basis and is limited to the availability of ABC personnel during our spawning season.  Trainees are expected to bear their own expenses while attending although there is no cost for the training per se.