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Farm-Raised (Aquacultured) Fish & Shellfish Brochure
Guide to Developing Aquaculture in NJ (pdf 6,428k)
Agricultural Management Practices for Aquaculture Facilities (pdf 1,073k)
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Fish & Seafood Development Program

New Jersey Aquaculture

Aquaculture Development

New Jersey's fledgling aquaculture industry receives strong support from FSDP through technology transfer projects, marketing assistance and technical assistance with required state permit processes.

The State Aquaculture Development Plan, established in 1995, lays the groundwork for the orderly development of the aquaculture industry in New Jersey. The New Jersey Aquaculture Development Act, which is based on the recommendations made in the Plan, was signed into law in 1997.

The ocean's resources are finite and can sustain only fixed harvests while the demand for quality fish and seafood continues to climb. To meet this increased demand, commercial fishermen and others in the seafood industry must develop new sources of seafood products. Aquaculture is one way to supplement the wild harvest.

The term aquaculture refers to the "farming" of fish, mollusks, crustaceans and aquatic plants. Farming implies some form of intervention in the rearing process -- such as regular stocking, feeding, protection from predators, etc., -- to improve production.

Aquaculture includes restocking the ocean through fingerling programs or open ocean mariculture. A common element is the effort to improve the natural processes of the environment to achieve greater yields of fish and seafood to meet growing consumer demands.

According to a recent survey conducted by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, over 30 aquaculture operations in New Jersey currently employ approximately 90 full time and 81 part-time employees. Total farm-gate sales value of reported harvest was approximately $5,787,000. Applying a standard fisheries multiplier of six, the economic contribution of aquaculture to New Jersey is approximately $34,722,000 annually.

The primary focus of aquaculture in New Jersey is the hard clam. These operations typically spawn and raise larvae and juveniles in on-shore hatcheries; plant larger juveniles on prepared and protected leased bottoms; and harvest the clams when they reach market size.

Culture of hard clams has more than doubled in recent years from 11,000 bushels in 1990 to 25,900 bushels in 1992. Hard clam aquaculture operations produced the equivalent of 25 percent of the state's 1992 hard clam capture harvest and the percentage continue to increase.

In addition to the potential for regeneration of New Jersey's 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, koi and aquatics for the state's pharmaceutical industry.

  • A Guide to Developing Aquaculture in NJ
    Guidebook: The aquaculture guidebook has two main functions. The first is to assist a potential aquaculturist in completing the Application for an Aquaculture License. This guidebook will explain the reasoning behind the questions and help to identify which permits, if any, will be necessary for the proposed operation. The other function of the guidebook is to give an overview of aquaculture in New Jersey. Items such as climate, species selection and formulating a business plan, among many other topics are all contained in the document.

  • Recommended Management Practices for Aquatic Farms: AMPs and Aquatic Organism Health Management Plan
    This document serves as guidance to a fish or shellfish farmer, once they have been permitted to conduct their business by all appropriate agencies (i.e. NJDEP, NJDOH). The AMPs are a very general set of guidelines for a farmer. The main benefit of adopting and implementing AMPs is receiving Right To Farm protections from the NJDA. Products can also be marketed as being produced under best management practices. The Aquatic Organism Health Management Plan is designed to assist farmers in disease prevention and treatment, producing better quality products, and meeting importation requirements of the NJDA.

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