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Abstract

The U.S. oyster supply has experienced a substantial change in its composition. Since 1950 total'oyster imports have more. than tripled, with most of this increase coming from Japan. Imports now account for 23 percent of total U.S. supply. The Pacific Coast receives nearly 60 percent of all U.S. imports and the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts receive approximately 18 percent each. The U.S. oyster industry has been beset by a number of problems. These problems include an antiquated regulatory structure, competition for the resource base, pollution, MSX disease, stagnant technology, declining consumption and imports. As a result the trend in annual harvests has shown a considerable decrease since 1950, particularly in middle Atlantic States where it decreased from 18 to 2 million pounds in only 19 years. Harvesting techniques and ownership patterns are also examined and decreased use of dredges and private oyster grounds are noted. All of these problems affecting the oyster industry have affected profits. To fully understand the role of imports in their effect on profits other determinants of profitability must also be measured. Independent of these other problems, however, imports are shown to have had a measurable impact in some instances in the Gulf and the Pacific region.

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