TANGIER ISLAND – First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe and Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore announced the addition of the Commonwealth’s eighth official oyster region, Tangier/Middle Bay Region. The announcement took place on Tangier Island and was attended by representatives from Virginia Tourism Corporation and members of the Virginia Oyster Trail Management Team. Several oyster-related businesses on Tangier Island are already part of the Virginia Oyster Trail, which Governor McAuliffe launched in November 2015.
“The addition of the Tangier/Middle Bay Oyster Region further underscores Virginia’s reputation as the Oyster Capital of the East Coast,” said First Lady McAuliffe. “This addition will allow travelers to experience the region in a new way by exploring its rich waterman heritage and history, tasting delicious oysters, and experiencing a part of Virginia that is truly unlike any other.”
The Tangier/Middle Bay Region joins seven different oyster regions to form the Virginia Oyster Trail, a public-private partnership of stakeholders working together to brand the Virginia oyster travel experience. Virginia’s eight different oyster regions produce the largest quantity of fresh wild-caught and farm-raised oysters in the United States and each region produces oysters with distinct flavors, offering an oyster for every palate ranging in salinity, creaminess and sweetness.
“This new designation of the Tangier/Middle Bay region is a critical step to further bolster and support Virginia’s robust oyster industry,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore. “Today’s oyster industry is booming and performing better than it has in nearly a generation, with a dockside value of nearly $34 million last year, which is a 52 percent increase from 2013. This is in no small part due to the tireless hard work, dedication, and passion exhibited by our watermen and oyster farmers. Thanks to our industry in the Tangier/Middle Bay Region – and all of our oyster regions – we can say definitively that Virginia is for Oyster Lovers.”
The Virginia Tourism Corporation partnered with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, Shellfish Growers of Virginia, Virginia Seafood Council, Virginia Marine Products Board and Artisans Center of Virginia, in addition to local tourism offices and planning district commissions, to make this project a reality.
Tangier Island, which is situated in the eighth region, was recently recognized on a list of 20 must-see places to visit in 2016 by National Geographic magazine. Tangier Island was chosen out of more than 34,000 submissions, placing the island in a league with Bermuda, Greenland, and the Philippines.
For more information about Virginia oysters, please visit www.virginia.org/oysters.
For more information on the Virginia Oyster Trail, please visit www.virginiaoystertrail.com.