The Kauffman Aquaculture Center (KAC) lies 30 miles north of VIMS' main campus on a tributary of the Rappahannock River known as Locklies Creek.
The Kauffman Center was specifically designed to enhance and extend the work and facilities of VIMS' Aquaculture Genetics and Breeding Technology Center (ABC). ABC was established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1997 to explore and promote the development of aquaculture in the Commonwealth.
The Kauffman Center significantly expands the scope of aquaculture research at VIMS by providing a facility that was specifically designed to hold both native and non-native species in quarantine. Stocks of native oysters in Chesapeake Bay have declined to the lowest point in history due to many years of overfishing and disease. In 2003, the National Academy of Sciences recommended that evaluation of non-natives be pursued carefully using triploid, sterile varieties. VIMS developed the technology to enable this recommendation, and, through the facilities available at KAC, expanded the scope of this activity.
Initial use of the facility focused on studies of both the native oyster, Crassostrea virginica and the non-native oyster, C. ariakensis. The 2009 federal decision against the use of the non-native oyster, Crassostrea ariakensis, in Chesapeake Bay changed the current focus to working strictly with native oysters. Emphasis at the Kauffman Center is now on preparing and staging native brood stock for the extensive spawning schedule at our Gloucester Point hatchery, as well a serving as back-up hatchery for smaller scale or specialized spawns.
The Kauffman Center features 4 separate laboratories that were each purpose-built to protect Chesapeake Bay and its living resources from disease, parasites, and the unintentional introduction of non-natives.
Construction of the $1.4 million Center was funded through a challenge grant by Boots and Jack Kauffman, with matching grants provided by Mr. Matthew T. Blackwood; the D. Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment, Inc.; Mr. and Mrs. Weston F. Conley, Jr. and Family; Dominion; Mr. and Mrs. John P.D. Kauffman; The Elis Olsson Memorial Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. E. Claiborne Robins, Jr.; Mr. and Mrs. James E. Rogers; and the Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation.