1.  The attached contains the regulatory links including the condemnation & lease maps we were looking at on the web (highlighted in yellow)

2.  Norovirus inquiry (what is the State doing)– I haven’t requested a statement from shellfish sanitation yet  - will do that and will send along at a later date

3.  Virginia Oyster Stock Assessment and Replenishment Archive (VOSARA).  These are the maps that Vic was showing on the public reefs.  The molluscan ecology group at VIMS is the place to get more information on restoration and natural stocks, including spatfall monitoring

4.  Speaker contacts:

Jennifer Beckensteiner: VIMS student (jbeckensteiner@vims.edu)

Lauren Huey: VIMS student  (lhuey@vims.edu)

Clara Robison VIMS student (clrobison@vims.edu)

Matt Elder, James Madison University student (elder2ms@dukes.jmu.edu)

Lisa Kellogg, VIMS faculty (lkellogg@vims.edu)

Patrice Ludwig, James Madison University faculty (ludwigpm@jmu.edu)

Emily Rivest, VIMS faculty (ebrivest@vims.edu)






Karen Hudson

Commercial Shellfish Aquaculture Specialist, Virginia Institute of Marine Science

P.O. Box 1346 Gloucester Point, VA 23062

Phone 804.684.7742  Fax 804.684.7161  Email khudson@vims.edu

TOGA’s 2018 Mid-Year Educational Event and Master Oyster Gardener (MOG) Refresher Course, June 7, 2018

Thanks to Karen Hudson and the team of instructors for a great day at the beautiful new VIMS facility.

TOGA’s 2016 Mid-Year Educational Event and Master Oyster Gardener (MOG) Refresher Course





























                                                   Thanks to Kent Eanes for the photographs.


The July 12, 2016 MOG Refresher Course was well attended (35). Karen Hudson has made available important materials used during the course. Click here to download from VIMS.

Jackie Partin's booklet "How to be an Oyster Gardener" can be downloaded here.


Recap of course-


There were thirty-five attendees at the Course, and some people had to be turned away for lack of space in the facility at VIMS. Nine of the attendees were Master Oyster Gardeners, and the rest were members of TOGA.


The meeting opened with a welcome by Mike Sanders, on behalf of TOGA and then another by Karen Hudson, on behalf of VIMS.


Karen then gave a talk on Best Practices on Handling and Eating Oysters. Two take-aways were 1) After receiving a cut while working with oysters, floats or any other exposure to sea water, one should immediately wash thoroughly (two minutes) with soap and water. Antibacterial soaps like Hibiclens may be used. Some recommend application of an ointment like Neosporin and covering with a bandaid. If redness appears at the site or any other sign of infection, see your doctor immediately and tell them about the exposure to sea water. 2) Oysters harvested or purchased for consumption should be put on ice immediately after their removal from the water, and should never be allowed to warm up before eating them.


Jackie then talked a little about the history of TOGA, since its founding in 1996, and incorporation in 1997. The first Annual Meeting had twenty members present. Currently the membership is more than 700. From the beginning, education has been the goal of the organization, as stated in the ByLaws. To educate in oyster aquaculture methods, to promote oyster garden aquaculture in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, and to promote the environmental health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries through oyster cultivation and by other means.


Commercial oyster aquaculture has been enormously successful, and is still growing, but TOGA still has a job to do. The use of triploid oysters bred to be disease resistant has made commercial aquaculture possible, but it does nothing to increase the population of diploid, reproductive native strains of oysters in the Bay. These native strains show some signs of having increased resistance to the predominant oyster parasites, but there are not enough native oysters growing in the Bay to be self-sustaining. Although it may not be possible for this to happen, oyster gardeners can at least try to help. In addition to growing triploids for our eating pleasure, we can also each grow a thousand or more wild oysters that are capable of reproduction. The catch is to find a way for gardeners to have spat from native, wild oysters available to purchase. Currently it is a hit or miss thing, although the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has been able to arrange to have a supply for their members. This is something we must work on.


The first invited speaker was our friend, Bob Fisher, who gave a great talk on Cownose Rays, which he describes as Flattened Sharks. We learned that clams, not oysters are their preferred food. Oysters actually may injure them. Bob’s photos and videos were great, as usual, and his talk was really enjoyed by everyone.


Dr. Jim Wesson, Oyster Restorer for the Virginia Marine Resource Commission, told us there are now 1124 permitted oyster gardeners. Obviously, many gardeners still don’t have permits. He emphasized the ease of filing a permit, and the fact that having a permit protects oyster gardeners from situations that might make it difficult to grow oysters from your dock. Jim also told us about a Smart Phone App, VMRC Maps, which may be obtained free from the App Store, and which can put an immense amount of information onto your phone. Information about condemned areas and private leases are available to you, along with a great deal of other things. For example, Virginia is the only state where it is legal to eat home gardened oysters. Dr. Wesson then asked for questions from the audience, and had many, many to answer. As always, we all came away with good information and appreciation for the VMRC and Department of Health, which made it possible for oyster gardening to be legal in the State of Virginia.


Dr. Mark Luckenbach, who is Associate Dean of Research and Advisory Services was the final speaker. Mark originated the idea of oyster aquaculture for ordinary people, and worked with individuals and groups to teach people how to do it successfully. It was great hearing him talk about some of the early oyster gardeners, back in the 1980’s, such as Don Beard, Dr. Armistead Williams, Governor Holton and our own Peter and Diane Perina, who have been major Toga resources for materials and education for all the years of TOGA’s existence.


I think this Course was a great success in pointing out to us the progress of TOGA over the past twenty years, as well as directing us to a way to proceed in the future. TOGA is Alive and Well.


Jackie Partin



9:30 am Registration/coffee

10:00 am Welcome

10:15 am Virginia’s Oyster Gardening History –VIMS perspective, Dr. Mark Luckenbach, VIMS

An overview of oyster gardening in Virginia – from its start to where we are today

11:15 am Virginia’s Oyster Gardening History –VMRC Perspective, Dr. Jim Wesson, VMRC

12:00 pm Lunch (provided)

1:00 pm TOGA’s Top FAQs

1:00 pm “How to Be an Oyster Gardener” Brochure

Jackie Partin, TOGA

1:15 pm Best Practices on Handling and Eating Oysters from the Garden Karen Hudson, VIMS

1:45 pm Predators and Pests:

1:45 pm Tools to identify the most common predators in the oyster garden

2:15 pm Cownose Ray - Impacts to the Oyster Fishery & Research into Predator Deterring Strategies Bob Fisher,VIMS

2:45 pm Break

3:00 pm TBD


Speaker Contacts:

Bob Fisher

Fisheries/Seafood Technology Specialist

Marine Advisory Services

Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Gloucester Point, VA 23062

804- 684-7168



Karen Hudson 

Shellfish Aquaculture Extension Specialist 

Marine Advisory Services

Virginia Institute of Marine Science 

Gloucester Point, VA 23062 


khudson@vims.edu luck@vims.edu


Mark Luckenbach

Associate Dean of Research & Advisory Services

Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Gloucester Point, VA 23062 



Jim Wesson

Virginia Marine Resources Commission

2600 Washington Avenue, 3rd floor

Newport News, VA 23607



Jackie Partin

President Emeritus