Patent Tong

Patent tonging for oystersThe VIMS oyster Patent Tong survey, was begun in 1993 and continues in cooperation with Mr. Andrew Button of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) Conservation and Replenishment Department to provide more quantitative estimates of oyster standing stocks in Virginia's tributaries.  This fishery-independent survey uses a quantitative sampling program at all reefs monitored using a stratified random grid with documented oyster reefs (bars) forming the strata. There are currently approximately 1700 stations occupied on an annual basis. Oysters are collected at each station from the 43-ft long VMRC vessel J.B. Baylor with a hydraulic patent tong. The open dimensions of the tong are such that it samples one square meter of bottom. Upon retrieval of each sample (patent tong grab) oysters are counted and measured (mm) and the volume of shell material (L) is recorded. This survey provides data in support of both management and restoration of Virginia’s oyster resource.

The VIMS Patent Tong survey was supported by funds from NOAA/Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee from 1993 through 1997. Survey results from these years were described in annual technical reports. Survey results have also been summarized for the James River (Mann et al. 2009), Great Wicomico River (Southworth et al. 2010) and Piankatank River (Harding et al. 2010). Summary of survey data from these systems as well as other systems is ongoing and are updated on an annual basis and can be found on the VOSARA page.

For more information, see Patent Tong Publications