Awards First Aquatic Farmer Licenses in the State
Jersey Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus issued the
state’s first-ever Aquatic Farmer Licenses at a ceremony
October 5, 2004 at Tuckerton Seaport in Tuckerton.
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.
“This 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
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
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.’”