Jim Wesson

In the Chesapeake Bay, Wesson is leading an innovative project to restore the one of the bay’s signature features: oysters. Troubled by environmental pollution, oysters filter water and create niches for other aquatic species to thrive, making them a key link in the bay’s ecosystem. As part of the Virginia Marine Commission’s Division of Fisheries Management, Wesson led a project to construct artificial reefs to help re-establish the shellfish. Young oysters are raised for a year and then transplanted onto the reefs by volunteers. Wesson was spurred to action in part by personal history. He grew up in a family of commercial blue-crab fishermen and had seen the effects of declining oyster populations firsthand.