Connecticut designated the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) as the official state shellfish in 1989. The oyster is a bivalve mollusk that thrives in Connecticut's tidal rivers and coastal embayments and is cultivated by the oyster industry in the waters of Long Island Sound.
Oysters were consumed by Connecticut's native American inhabitants and early European settlers also found oysters to be a major food source. The first colonial laws regulating the taking of oysters in Connecticut appeared in the early 1700's.
Oyster farming developed into a major industry in the State by the late 19th century. In the 1890's Connecticut had the largest fleet of oyster steamers in the world. The economic importance of oysters to Connecticut continues today.