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A 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.

The 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 backyard.

Six 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.

The 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.

Jersey 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.


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