December 19, 2022
Virginia’s Seafood Industry Provides $1.1 Billion Boost to State’s Economy
Michael Wallace, VDACS
Virginia’s seafood industry provided a $1.1 billion boost to the state’s economy in 2019, according to a new Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center (VSAREC) economic impact study. Sponsored by the Virginia Marine Products Board, the VSAREC study found that Virginia’s seafood industry supported 7,187 jobs and generated over $26 million in tax revenue from local, state, and federal taxes. Twenty-four percent ($6.3 million) of the total tax generated was local.
“Virginia’s seafood industry is one of the oldest industries in the United States and one of the Commonwealth’s largest. This study provides a snapshot of the industry’s tremendous impact to Virginia’s economy,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “The $1.1 billion industry not only provides a boost to our economy, but it also provides valuable employment opportunities in Eastern Virginia and supports a range of other economic sectors.”
Virginia’s seafood industry provides valuable employment opportunities for watermen, aquaculture farmers, processors, distributors, and others in the Commonwealth’s coastal areas. The total employment effect of the Virginia seafood industry was estimated to benefit 7,187 people, with a direct effect 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 estimated to be $545 million.
Along with being number one on the East Coast for oyster production, Virginia is fourth in the nation and first on the U.S. Atlantic Coast in seafood landings. In 2020, total landings in the Commonwealth were valued at more than $200 million,” said Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr. “The seafood industry continues to be a major contributor to the state’s overall agricultural portfolio. I would like to thank the watermen, aquaculture farmers, processors, distributors, and everyone involved
Virginia’s seafood industry for their hard work and dedication.”
The economic benefits of the seafood supply chain to the overall state economy demonstrates the magnitude and reach of the Virginia seafood industry. Watermen, aquaculture farmers, processors, and distributors sustain jobs and support other economic sectors operating within and beyond our Commonwealth that amplify their contribution to our 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. Non-depository credit intermediation, owner-occupied dwellings, and real estate sectors are supported as wages and salaries paid to employees throughout the seafood supply chain multiply in Virginia`s economy.
The total economic contribution of Virginia’s seafood industry is comprised of $887.7 million in direct effect, an indirect effect of $117.6 million, and an induced effect of $99.5 million. The economic multiplier of the industry was 1.24, which indicates that every dollar spent in the industry generated an additional $0.24 of output in the Virginia economy in 2019. The total economic impact figures for the industry are conservative. The analysis does not include retail and restaurant services, or the spillover benefits to economies outside Virginia.
Virginia is home to the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States. Protecting this vital resource is imperative to the future of Virginia’s seafood industry as well as the ecological, social, historical, and cultural value the estuary provides. Implementing thoughtful conservation measures along with impactful restoration efforts will help to ensure this important resource is available for future generations. For example, oysters are a critical component of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. A single adult oyster can purge 50 gallons of water a day. The gardening and farming of oysters reduces harvest pressure on wild stocks, and increases the overall number of shellfish that help clean the water and serve as habitat for other marine life.
To view the full VSAREC study, please visit www.arec.vaes.vt.edu.
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