Like many other businesses, COVID-19 brought enormous challenges to aquaculture producers who sold most of their product to restaurants and restaurant suppliers. In response to this, VIMS Marine Advisory Program (VMAP) with funding through Virginia Sea Grant, established the AquaCultured project to assist aquaculture producers in establishing direct marketing and sales to consumers for consumption at home.

During the first year of AquaCultured, the project provided growers with e-commerce education to build capacity for growers to sell online, as well as a direct marketing campaign to promote aquaculture products with consumers. The direct marketing campaign included:

  • special events pairing aquaculture products with complimentary food and beverage such as local craft beers and Virginia wine and peanuts
  • educational videos for consumers
  • website and social media campaign

AquaCultured then worked closely with growers to foster more direct connections between the seafood growers and their food and beverage counterparts. During this time, we expanded an online platform to support grower education and marketing.

Now, Aquacultured is filled with trainings for aquaculture producers and farmers on how to host their own events, package their products, and get their shellfish to market.

AquaCultured is a program presented by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Virginia Sea Grant that celebrates the harvest of Virginia shellfish farmers by helping find ways to get their catch to your table!