| Things to think about
Jersey is one of only five states that have been able to increase
their number of harvestable estuarine acres since 1990.
Suburban and urban runoff
is one of the biggest remaining uncontrolled pollution sources
contributing to harvest limitations.
are a very sensitive indicator of pollution because they eat
by filtering whatever is floating in the coastal waters where
they live. As a result, our ability to eat shellfish - or our
need to declare them off limits – is an important indicator
of water quality and ecosystem health. As the chart above shows,
New Jersey has been successful in upgrading coastal water quality
and opening up more areas for shellfish harvesting. In each
of the past twelve years, we have been able to open up more
acres of shellfish for harvest.
a coastal state, marine resources are important to New Jersey’s
economy. We have a vibrant commercial fishing industry, of which
shellfish are a part. The commercial and sport fishing industries
rely on clean water just as much as the shellfish industry.
Water quality and fresh shellfish are important to tourism,
which is the second largest industry in the state.
marine water quality and habitat is essential to protecting
the diversity of life in the ocean. As bottom dwellers and filter
feeders, shellfish are good indicator species for the quality
of the water and the health of the marine ecosystem. Moreover,
clean coastal waters reduce public health problems when we eat
fish - and when we swim and play in this water.
beaches and water provide safe opportunities for recreation
and tourism in our coastal communities. Trips to the shore,
and the opportunity to eat fresh seafood, are timeless leisure
activities for many of us. Maintaining them preserves an important
part of our heritage.
our information concerning the health of marine ecosystems is
poor. We still know little about ocean ecosystems and our many
effects on them. We need a greater understanding of how pollutants
enter our coastal waters, particularly from non-point sources
such as stormwater runoff. We also need scientific study of
how these substances affect marine ecosystems.
Source: NJ Department of Environmental Protection