"Since 1608, Northampton has provided food for Virginia and the world. The County has the Atlantic Ocean and the barrier islands on the eastern boundary and the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries to the west. So for centuries, the people of Northampton have used the bounty of this resource to drive the economy. Fishing, crabbing and clam aquaculture today are still an important part of the economic backbone of Northampton."

-Curtis Badger Northampton County Introduction

Aquaculture in Northampton
Please click on the infographic for a larger view and ADA Accessible PDF version.

The seafood industry is one of Virginia's and Northampton County's oldest and most successful industries. Virginia ranks top in the nation for hard clam production with the Eastern Shore leading the industry in the state. Aquaculture sales are at $28 million. 

Bushels of Oysters
Bushels of oysters. Photo credit: Giama Wiggins 

Watermen have been active on the shore for generations. Once abundant, oysters were a mainstay of the seafood industry along with the famed blue crab, clams and scallops. Waterfront villages and towns enjoyed a healthy economy as watermen brought in their catch and seafood packing, oyster shucking and crab picking houses prospered. Though oysters are not as abundant today due to over-harvesting and disease, blue crabs from the Eastern Shore are still a sought after commodity. Clam aquaculture or water farming is a multi-million dollar industry with operations in Willis Wharf, Chincoteague and Cherrystone Creek.

-Excerpt from From FY 2020 Budget Doc

Watermen spread clam seed.
Farming the waters. Watermen spread clam seed. Photo credit: Giama Wiggins

Aquaculture Employers

Aquaculture creates jobs in Northampton County, VA.
Below are a list of Aquaculture industry employers and their rank out of the top 50 employers of in the County.

#3. Ballard Fish & Oyster Co.
#18. H.M. Terry
#25. J.C. Walker Bros. Clams
#39. Bernie’s Conchs, LLC

Ballard Fish & Oyster Overview Video credit: Cherrystone Clams

Overview of a 5th generation family clam and oyster business on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. For more information visit: