Oyster Aquaculture Training

  • Tending to algae
    Tending to algae  Lizzy Profita (OAT '16) stirring algae flasks. Microalgae is food for oysters.  Photo by Lauren Gregg
  • Harvesting eyed larvae
    Harvesting eyed larvae  Imani Black (OAT '16) rinsing sieves of larvae in the hatchery.  Photo by Karen Sisler
  • Transporting oysters and gear
    Transporting oysters and gear  Haley Ladeau (OAT '16) driving the gator 'Daisy' around campus to pick up some supplies. This is ABC's preferred method of transporting oysters and grow-out gear around VIMS and the York River field site at Gloucester Point.  Photo courtesy of ABC
  • Farm externship
    Farm externship  Ryan Bethea (OAT '14) participating in a farm externship near Beaufort, NC. After his summer with ABC, he went on to start his own oyster company and farm nearby.  
  • Oyster bags ready for the field
    Oyster bags ready for the field  Brittany Wolfe and Cailan Murray (both OAT '14) preparing to help band a sizable collection of oyster bags onto racks out in the field.  Photo courtesy of ABC.
  • OAT 2013 Group
    OAT 2013 Group  Cyrene Grover, Marisa Franks, Jim LaChance, and Janet Hanson (all OAT '13) pose in the ABC nursery.  Photo courtesy of ABC
  • Broodstock work
    Broodstock work  Tyler Huband (OAT '11), Lauren Gregg (OAT '11), and Blaine Schoolfield (OAT '10) working on some Lynnhaven broodstock in the midsummer heat. Lauren and Blaine both accepted full-time positions with ABC after the OAT program.  Photo by Loren Reller
  • Moving an oyster cage
    Moving an oyster cage  Jenna Harris and Paul France (both OAT '18) move a cage filled with young oyster seed at the Rappahannock field site.  Photo by Lauren Gregg
  • 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
  • Hatchery
    Hatchery  OAT intern Brittany Wolfe hard at work 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
  • At the scope
    At the scope  OAT intern Ryan Bethea analyzes some samples in the VIMS oyster hatchery.  Photo by Erin Fryer
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Oyster aquaculture, both in Chesapeake Bay and globally, is undergoing extraordinary growth with a parallel demand for trained technical and support staff. ABC offers training opportunities in oyster aquaculture during the hatchery and nursery seasons. These opportunities are of two types: full-term (season long) and short-term (variable, generally 1-4 weeks).

Oyster Aquaculture Training program (full-term)

The Oyster Aquaculture Training (OAT) 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.” 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. The 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. 

For details, download our OAT program description or OAT brochure

Shellfish Aquaculture Training program (short-term)

Because hatchery, nursery, and field operations are in full swing during the OAT training period, ABC can offer short Shellfish Aquaculture Training (SAT) 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 duration of training is negotiable. Trainees will be accommodated on a first-come/first-serve basis, with the number of trainees limited by the availability of ABC personnel during the spawning season. There is no cost for the training, but trainees are expected to bear their own expenses while attending.

For more information, contact ABC Associate Director Jessica Small.