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USDA Grant Will Fund Seafood Marketing Research in New Jersey
Study Focuses on Consumers and Producers of Live Seafood
For Immediate Release: July 14,2005 Contact:

Jeff Beach

(TRENTON) – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with Rutgers University and the University of Delaware, has received a grant from the USDA to help promote the production and consumption of locally grown live seafood products.

The $56,500 matching grant from the USDA’s Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), will fund a survey of consumers, producers, wholesalers and buyers in the Northeast about consumption of live fish, shellfish and other seafood products that will result in a central resource to facilitate sales.

“We are very pleased to have received this grant, as it will help further our efforts of promoting the bounty of New Jersey’s waters,” said Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus. “Seafood – both wild-harvested and farm-raised -- is an integral part of our Garden State’s working agricultural landscape, and the live markets are an important component of the seafood sector, especially in the ethnic markets.”

The project funded by the grant will begin in September and take about a year to complete. The NJDA will work with the Department of Food and Resource Economics at Rutgers to conduct a survey of people from various ethnic groups to define the customer base for live seafood. The Department and Rutgers also will develop and publish, in several different languages, a directory of live markets throughout the Northeast to make locating them easier for consumers. Finally, the Department will work with the Sea Grant and College of Marine Science at the University of Delaware to compile and publish a list of both live markets and producers of live seafood products so producers and buyers can better locate each other.

Secretary Kuperus pointed to other efforts by the Department to improve the marketing of New Jersey seafood. They include:

- Establishment of a “Jersey Seafood” brand modeled on the highly successful “Jersey Fresh” campaign for locally grown produce, along with a Jersey Seafood website, www.jerseyseafood.nj.gov.
- Awarding of Aquatic Farmer Licenses to allow producers to demonstrate definitive ownership of the organisms being cultured and reduce the introduction of exotic pests that could be detrimental to wild stocks and other aquatic farms
- Working with a group of seven aquaculture producers to market bagged clams under the Jersey Seafood brand name

The FSMIP grants were awarded to those projects that exhibited new and innovative approaches to marketing U.S. food and agricultural products and improve efficiency and performance of the marketing system, USDA officials said. In all, more than $1.3 million in money was awarded to projects in 20 states and Puerto Rico.

“These projects are excellent examples of the benefit of investing in new marketing opportunities for U.S. agriculture,” said Deputy U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner.

Secretary Kuperus noted the timing of the grant award was appropriate because it comes as New Jersey prepares to host the North American Agricultural Marketing Officials (NAAMO) annual conference for the first time in that group’s 84-year history on July 17-20 in Atlantic City.

“We recognize in New Jersey how important innovative marketing is to sustaining a viable agricultural industry,” Secretary Kuperus said. “One of the sessions at the NAAMO conference covers marketing to a diverse population, and this FSMIP grant is a prime example of how we are working to address these new and diverse marketing opportunities.”

For more information on the live seafood project, contact the NJDA’s Fish and Seafood Program at (609) 984-2502 or via e-mail at joseph.myers@ag.state.nj.us.