Home Virginia seafood industry brings billion-dollar boost to state’s economy

Virginia seafood industry brings billion-dollar boost to state’s economy

Crystal Graham
oyster fisherman
(© Wollwerth Imagery – stock.adobe.com)

Results of an economic impact analysis have found that Virginia’s seafood industry contributes $1.1 billion to the state’s economy.

The Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center economic impact study found that in 2019 Virginia’s seafood industry supported 7,187 jobs and generated more than $26 million in tax revenue from local, state and federal taxes.

The study, sponsored by the Virginia Marine Products Board, also found that 24 percent, or $6.3 million, of the total tax generated was local.

“The study clearly demonstrates the economic value of Virginia’s local seafood production and processing. Seafood aquaculture, primarily oyster and clams, is a major contributor to this $1.1 billion industry,” said Tony Banks, senior assistant director of agriculture, development and innovation for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “Virginia aquaculture is poised for continued growth as technology related to shellfish, algae and aquaponics advances.”

Employment opportunities

Virginia’s seafood industry provides valuable employment opportunities for watermen, aquaculture farmers, processors, distributors and others.

The total employment effect of the industry was estimated to benefit 7,187 people, with a direct result of 6,050 jobs, indirect effect of 523 jobs and induced effect of 614 jobs.

The total labor income was estimated to be $168.1 million, and the total value-added benefits were estimated to be $545 million.

Economic benefits

The economic benefits of the seafood supply chain to the overall state economy demonstrate the magnitude and reach of the Virginia seafood industry.

Watermen, aquaculture farmers, processors and distributors sustain jobs and support other economic sectors that amplify their contribution to Virginia’s economy.

Those economic sectors include polystyrene foam product manufacturing, boat building, sporting and athletic goods manufacturing, commercial and industrial machinery and equipment repair and maintenance through direct expenditures by seafood businesses.

The report also found that the industry’s economic multiplier is 1.24, which indicates that every dollar spent in the seafood business generated an additional 24 cents of output in the Virginia economy in 2019. The analysis didn’t include retail and restaurant services, or the spillover benefits to economies outside Virginia.

View the full study at arec.vaes.vt.edu.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.