Letter from Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus
For more than 300 years, New Jersey’s commercial fishermen have brought
home some of the finest fish and seafood caught anywhere in the world. New Jersey
is proud of its ranking as one of the nation’s leading harvesters, including
being the world’s leading supplier of surf clams and ocean quahogs.
variety and abundance of New Jersey seafood is impressive – clams,
scallops, blue crabs, mackerel, squid, monkfish and flounder, to
name just a few. In 2003, our state’s fishermen harvested
165 million pounds of shellfish valued at $113 million. Because
of New Jersey’s ideal seaboard location, we have ready
access to over 100 Northern and Southern species. Our products
are sent to markets around the world and are considered delicacies
in Asia and many other regions. Those of us fortunate enough
to live in New Jersey have these products available in our own
major commercial ports thrive in our state – Cape May, Atlantic
City, Belford, Point Pleasant, Point Norris and Barnegat Light.
These ports and others make a significant contribution to the state’s
economy. It is also important to emphasize that our fishermen are
meeting tough environmental standards to protect our waters and
that New Jersey shellfish harvesters adhere to strict monitoring
regulations. Today’s fishery managers and fishermen must
know how to manage the ecosystem by thoroughly understanding
the fish that make up each population and the rates at which
they grow and reproduce. Because their livelihoods depend on
the continuing availability of fish and seafood, commercial fishermen
have an important stake in ensuring that the resource is renewed
and that appropriate conservation measures are in place.
market for seafood is clearly growing. Americans hungry for seafood
now consume roughly 15 pounds per year. The American Heart Association
recommends that we consume fish and other seafood at least twice
a week. Our national concern over making healthier food choices
will also continue to increase consumer demand for fish.
Seafood can be convenient, quick and easy to prepare, making it ideal for healthier
eating in our busy world. The Department of Agriculture has embarked on a major
program to support this important part of our agricultural community by helping
seafood buyers and consumers identify our locally harvested fresh products. This
web site is a big part of that effort. Spend some time on this web site to learn
more information about the availability and preparation of New Jersey seafood.
seafood is a healthy, nutritious food choice and a vital and
growing part of New Jersey’s agriculture. When you purchase
New Jersey seafood and our diverse variety of Jersey Fresh products,
you are supporting our rich agricultural and culinary heritage.