& Seafood Development Program
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
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
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
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.
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
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.