Home > News > Press Releases
Encourages Development and Expansion of NJ's Growing Aquaculture Industry

For Immediate Release: October 5, 2004


Lynne Richmond




(TUCKERTON) – New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus today issued the state’s first-ever Aquatic Farmer Licenses.

“Farmers and fishermen are important to the economy of New Jersey and the state’s quality of life,” said Secretary Kuperus. “With such a diverse food and agriculture industry in the state, consumers benefit from New Jersey’s bounty from both the sea and land.”

The Aquatic Farmer License is a provision of the New Jersey Aquaculture Development Act, which was designed to foster the growth of a viable and vibrant aquaculture industry in New Jersey. The license was established to allow producers to demonstrate definitive ownership of the organisms being cultured and reduce the possibility of the introduction of exotic pests that may be detrimental to wild stocks and other aquatic farms.

“Today adds another important link in anchoring aquaculture to New Jersey’s economy,” said Assemblyman John Gibson (Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland), who was among the group of 16 aquatic farmers who received their licenses. “In the nine years since the drafting of the aquaculture development plan, New Jersey has invested in technological and educational infrastructure; encouraged entrepreneurship; and now, with this license, we are providing another means to make it easier to farm fish in this state.”

Kuperus also announced the launching of a new website dedicated entirely to the seafood and aquaculture industries. Found at www.jerseyseafood.nj.gov, visitors can find recipes from New Jersey’s top chefs featuring Jersey Fresh produce and Jersey seafood; they can watch a demonstration on how to prepare seafood; and get health and nutrition tips. For those in the industry, they can find a list of suppliers, exporters, and importers, do a product search, and link to numerous helpful websites.

“We may be the Garden State but New Jersey also boasts six fishing ports and 127 miles of shoreline with some of the best seafood in the nation right off of our coast,” said Secretary Kuperus. “The Jersey Seafood website -- for the first time – brings all the information about New Jersey seafood and aquaculture together in one place.”

Aquaculture is a form of agriculture involving the production and marketing of aquatic organisms – such as shellfish, fish, and aquatic plants -- in controlled or selected environments. In addition to intensive on-farm production strategies, aquaculture also includes efforts that simply improve natural processes, achieving greater yields of fish and seafood to meet growing consumer demand.

A United State Department of Agriculture survey showed total sales from 28 aquaculture farms in New Jersey were $5,787,000 – the 5th highest farm gate value in the Northeast. There are 64 acres of freshwater farms and 1,402 acres of saltwater farms.

While the primary focus of aquaculture in New Jersey is the hard clam and regeneration of the oyster culture industry, potential candidate species for the developing aquaculture industry include hybrid striped bass, bay scallops, soft-shell clams and crabs, black sea bass and koi.

In addition to the Aquatic Farmer License, the Aquaculture Development Act also established the Aquaculture Advisory Council, a 15-member panel, which is charged with developing a business-friendly and environmentally-sound policy framework to foster the growth of aquaculture in the state.

“Aquaculture is an important part of the New Jersey food and agriculture industry,” said Secretary Kuperus. “However, to these aquatic farmer licensees – especially the shellfish farmers -- aquaculture allows them to continue to earn their living as ‘baymen.’”