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As the world’s leading supplier of surf clams, ocean quahogs and mackerel, New Jersey’s commercial fishermen have been supplying the world’s finest seafood for over 300 years. The variety of New Jersey seafood is impressive: clams, scallops, blue crabs, squid, monkfish and flounder, and many others. New Jersey’s ideal seaboard location allows for ready access to over 100 Northern and Southern species which are in demand all around the world. In 2004, over 187 million pounds of seafood valued at $145.7 million was landed in New Jersey’s six thriving ports, Cape May, Atlantic City, Belford, Point Pleasant, Point Norris and Barnegat Light. In 2004, Cape May was the fifth largest port in the nation landing $68.1 million dollars of seafood. With annual retail, import and export sales in excess of $2 billion, New Jersey Seafood is important to our state’s economy

Our state’s more than 150 aquaculture farms’ total sales were estimated to be $6.0 million in 2004. This includes 86 hard clam farms, 34 oyster farms and 14 finfish farms that include trout, koi, hybrid striped bass, sport fish species, and tilapia. Four farms also produce hundreds of species of aquatic plants.

New Jersey has the second highest number of molluscan farms in the Northeast. The total acreage of aquatic farms in New Jersey is 1,466 of which 1,402 are saltwater and 64 are fresh water. The USDA 2006 Census of Aquaculture will provide updated statistics that document the rapid growth of the industry over the past five years.

New Jersey is strategically located in one of the nation’s largest, and culturally diverse, upscale consumer seafood markets. But stiff competition from other states is resulting in lower prices and lost markets for New Jersey’ seafood and farm-raised products, especially shellfish.

In 2004, the Department embarked on a program to brand locally harvested seafood. The Jersey Seafood branding program allows consumers to identify local seafood while also meeting new country of origin label requirements. Through promotional materials, point of sale advertising, an enhanced website, and work with strategic partners, awareness is expanding for the Jersey Seafood brand name. With 70 percent of seafood consumed in restaurants, the Jersey Seafood brand promotion is also heavily targeted at chefs who are the opinion leaders in the industry.

Coastal tourism contributes $15 billion annually to our state’s economy. Restaurants play a key role in a successful tourism industry in New Jersey. Recognizing this, our program identified strategic partnerships and a comprehensive promotional plan to support the positive branding of the New Jersey Shore along with Jersey Seafood.


3.1 Promote the “Jersey Seafood” Brand
31) STRATEGY- Continue to promote locally grown and harvested products as distinct from, and of higher value, than competing products by establishing the Jersey Seafood brand.

32) STRATEGY – In order to develop a high quality brand image for New Jersey Seafood, as well as maintain a safe and high quality supply of Jersey Seafood products for New Jersey residents:

1 NJDA staff and seafood industry members will implement a new grading and quality assurance program to support the branding and marketing of farm-raised New Jersey shellfish.
2 Twenty farmers will adopt a quality grading program for farmed clams & oysters that will allow the use a Jersey Seafood logo on packaging and promotional materials.
3 Five farmers will participate in a Shellfish Quality Assurance Program.
4 Seafood handling programs for supermarket retail personnel will be held twice yearly.
5 One hundred farmers will adopt the Recommended Agricultural Management Practices and Aquatic Organisms Health Management Plan.
6 Ten Agricultural Extension Agents will be trained to assist current and potential aquatic farmers.
7 An additional 100 acres of bottom will be available for aquaculture lease.
8 Signage and outreach materials will be developed to protect shellfish farmers from vandalism.

It is estimated that this support of the orderly growth of New Jersey’s aquaculture industry will increase farm gate sales by approximately 10 percent annually.

33) STRATEGY –Continue to identify strategic partnerships to support the positive branding of the New Jersey Shore and Jersey Seafood. Work to align with Jersey Shore branding strategies and the promotional opportunities of the Casino Redevelopment Authority (CRDA), NJ Travel & Tourism/Department of Commerce and targeted seafood festivals.

34) STRATEGY- NJDA seafood marketing programs will continue to promote locally grown and harvested fish and shellfish as an integral part of a healthier, more active lifestyle. The NJDA will continue to support the branding of Jersey Seafood through our Jersey Seafood Website as well as point of sale materials developed and distributed to Jersey Seafood retailers, community markets and restaurateurs.

3.2 Developing Restaurant Promotions & Branding
35) STRATEGY- NJDA will continue to establish promotional relationships with professional culinary organizations such as the New Jersey Restaurant Association, Professional Chefs’ Associations, and Slow Foods Organizations of New Jersey. Through these relationships, the newly updated Jersey Seafood Suppliers Directory, our Jersey Seafood website information designed to connect buyers with sellers will be distributed.

36) STRATEGY- In conjunction with the members of the NJDA Jersey Fresh marketing staff, Garden State Seafood Association, New Jersey Restaurant Association and Professional Chefs Associations, continue to develop a Jersey Fresh Seafood Culinary event to showcase our local produce and seafood products. This will be implemented to highlight the quality of these items to our region’s consumers, tourists and seafood buyers. Winning recipes and participating chefs and restaurateurs will be posted on the Jersey Seafood web site as well as considered for inclusion in future cookbooks.

3.3 Facilitating Retail Promotion & Sale of Jersey Seafood
37) STRATEGY- Ten new retail markets will feature locally harvested New Jersey fish and shellfish. Consumer friendly Jersey Seafood point-of-sale materials will be provided to targeted retail markets. The newly updated Seafood Suppliers Directory will be distributed to seafood buyers of New Jersey’s major supermarket chains. Visits will be made to major retail buyers to promote New Jersey seafood, distribute the seafood suppliers directory and encourage use of the point of sale materials and.

3.4 Supporting Direct Marketing Opportunities
38) STRATEGY –NJDA will continue to support and assist in expanding the sale of aquaculture products at community farm markets. Surveys of farm markets will be conducted to identify potential markets for seafood products. Promotional and packaging materials will also be developed to support the branding and sale of New Jersey’s seafood products in targeted upscale farm markets.

3.5 Development of Value-Added Seafood Products

39) STRATEGY – In 2006, through the USDA Value Added Grant Program, a comprehensive business plan will be developed by the New Jersey Seafood Marketing Group. Department staff will continue to work with and inform agricultural and seafood industry members about the availability of grants to promote value added product development and product innovation.

3.6 Export of New Jersey Seafood Products

40) STRATEGY – In partnership with USDA and Food Export USA programs for 2006, promote the development of export marketing opportunities for New Jersey’s seafood products.