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RAS Larvae Culture

This project is currently supported by two grants. For the Fisheries Resource Grant, the overall goal was to develop a commercial scale RAS for larval culture as a template for further testing. In 2021, the design was implemented and tested throughout the season. The 2021 FRGP grant was a follow up a preliminary FRGP project funded in 2012 and some small scale, unfunded testing in 2020. For the SK project that starts in 2022, the system design will be further evaluated, with the overall goal of obtaining commercial production from the system.

recirculating aquaculture system

Funding Support

  • Virginia Fisheries Resource Grant Program (FRGP) (PI – Michael Congrove, OSH)

  • NOAA Saltonstall-Kennedy (SK) (PI – Dr. Reza Ovissipour, Seafood AREC/Dept. Food Science, Virginia Tech)

Project Team

  • Michael Congrove, OSH

  • Christopher Bentley, formerly VIMS

  • Dr. Reza Ovissipour, Seafood AREC/Dept. Food Science, Virginia Tech

  • Dr. Michael Shwarz, Seafood AREC, Virginia Tech

  • Dr. Richard Snyder, VIMS

  • Dr. Jonatan van Senten, Seafood AREC, Virginia Tech

  • Collaborating commercial hatchery: Susan Miller, Bagwell Enterprises

tanks in RAS system


  1. FRGP​​

    • Build as designed, a RAS larval culture system capable of producing 10M eyed larvae/week

    • Establish prokaryotic and eukaryotic bioreactor populations for biological filtration

    • Compare RAS production with cohort spawns in the OSH production system

  2. NOAA - SK

    • Using above design, make modifications based on 2021 season

    • Further investigate water quality parameters through lab analysis

    • Perform an economic analysis on RAS vs standard production

    • Follow performance of seed from the two systems


  1. Microbiome analysis

  2. Biofilm analysis through respirometry

  3. Monitoring of bacterial cultures

  4. Standard water quality analysis: total ammonia nitrogen, nitrite, nitrate, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen, salinity, pH

RAS technology


        Virginia Aquaculture Conference Talk                                         Heterotrophic bio-reactor startup protocol:

In the News

In the weeds

  • Garcia, A., Kamermans, P.  2015.  Optimization of blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) seed culture using recirculating aquaculture systems.  Aquaculture Research 46, 977-986.

  • Kamermans, P., Blanco, A., Joaquim, S., Matias, D., Magnesen, T., Nicolas, J., Petton, B., Robert, R.  2016.  Recirculation nursery systems for bivalves. Aquaculture International 24, 827-842.

  • Kuhn, D., Angier, M., Barbour, S., Smith, S., Flick, G.  2013.  Culture feasibility of eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) in zero-water exchange recirculating systems using synthetically derived seawater and live feeds. Aquacultural Engineering 54, 45-48.

  • Magnesen, T., Jacobsen, A.  2012.  Effect of water recirculation on seawater quality and production (Pecten maximus) larvae. Aquacultural Engineering 47, 1-6.

  • Merino, G., Uribe, E., Soria, G., von Brand, E.  2009.  A comparison of larval production of the northern scallop, Argopecten purpuratus, in closed and recirculating culture systems.  Aquacultural Engineering 40, 95-103.

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