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VCU Receives Funding for Oyster Restoration Project

VCU Receives Funding for Oyster Restoration Project
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Lifestyle Brand Toadfish Outfitters to donate proceeds of its Virginia sales

Richmond, VA (June 7, 2018) — Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) has teamed up with Toadfish Outfitters of Charleston, South Carolina to benefit the Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program (VOSRP). Toadfish Outfitters, a manufacturer of thoughtfully designed coastal lifestyle products and dedicates a portion of their sales to support oyster restoration. They have designated VOSRP as the sole Virginia recipient from the sale of Toadfish products sold in Virginia. VOSRP will use the funding to initially support the acquisition of 20 million oyster larvae that will be seeded on recycled oyster shell. This partnership will allow VCU to plant more than 2 million oysters in its first restoration cycle of 2018 and this support coincides with the Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week. VOSRP at VCU Rice Rivers Center is a collaborative, community-based oyster restoration program that works closely with the Virginia seafood industry to help return the Virginia oyster.
“Oysters are the ultimate friend of the coast as they help to keep our waters clean,” said Casey Davidson, founder of Toadfish Outfitters. “Since day one, we’ve promised to give back a portion of every product sold toward oyster habitat restoration, so working with VCU was a natural fit.”
The VOSRP currently collects oyster shells from more than 50 restaurants and 30 public drop-off locations statewide. A much needed effort, the population of the Virginia Oyster is currently estimated at one to two percent of its peak number.
“We are excited about the new partnership between Toadfish Outfitters and the Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program to help bring the Virginia Oyster back to Chesapeake Bay,” said Dr. Greg Garman, director of VCU Rice Rivers Center. “The folks at Toadfish have clearly demonstrated a strong fisheries conservation ethic by supporting oyster restoration in other states and the Rice Rivers Center is excited to be the sole beneficiary of their support in Virginia.”
“This is a rare, but perfectly complementary project between academia, state agencies, the community and the private sector,” said Dr. Rob Tombes, Vice Provost for Life Sciences and Research. “Hopefully, it can be a model for future collaborative opportunities.”
Toadfish Outfitters is best known for its Put ’Em Back shucking knife made with a rust-resistant stainless steel blade and an ergonomically designed handle crafted out of post-consumer recycled plastic. To support VCU’s effort people can purchase items from Toadfishoutfitters.com or visit a local retailer where Toadfish products are sold including The Farm Basket in Lynchburg, Va., Gull Hummock Gourmet Market in Cape Charles, or any Virginia-based Sur la Table location.
“A single oyster filters up to fifty gallons of coastal water per day, removing the toxins from run off and creating a coastal habitat where hundreds of smaller species like barnacles, mussels, crab, can thrive,” said Davidson. “It’s nature’s way of keeping the coast clean.”
VCU, through funding from NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, has recently documented more than 30 fish species that utilize oyster reefs in varying life stages throughout the year. Some of these species are recreationally and commercially valuable and include: Cobia, Striped Bass, Spotted Sea Trout, Weakfish and Red Drum.
”This innovative, public-private partnership is a testament to the Bay’s incredible ability to bring people together” said Mathew Strickler, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources “Thanks to this exciting collaboration, it will benefit the Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts and the commercial industry.”

ABOUT TOADFISH OUTFITTERS

TOADFISH OUTFITTERS is a manufacturer of thoughtfully designed eco-friendly coastal products and apparel. It is an eco-active company dedicated to protecting the saltwater environment and keeping it healthy; educating customers to better understand the cause and effect of over-harvesting versus replenishment, and elevating everyone’s enjoyment of the water.

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 217 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Thirty-eight of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, MCV Physicians and Virginia Premier Health Plan. For more, please visitwww.vcu.edu andvcuhealth.org.

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