(TRENTON) – Third generation fisherman, James Lovgren of Brick Township, Captain of the Viking II out of Point Pleasant, has been named one of three national recipients of the 2006 Highliner Award, presented by National Fisherman Magazine.
The Highliner Award was established by the magazine in 1975 to “recognize fishermen for overarching contributions to their industry and to their communities.” Since inception of the award in 1975, fewer than 100 fishermen have received this prestigious recognition.
“It is fitting that Captain Lovgren has been recognized by his peers in the fishing community,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus. “He is a strong advocate of responsible fishing and is one of our partners in our work to ensure the continued availability of fish and the viability of the fishing industry for future generations.”
Lovgren has been active in a number of councils and commissions that bring together the fishing community, scientists and government officials to determine how best to manage our fishery resources to sustain them into the future. He is an owner of the Fishermen’s Dock Cooperative in Point Pleasant, which was originally established as an agricultural co-op. He still has a strong and active link with the agriculture community and is President of the Ocean County Farm Bureau. He also is a member of the Board of Directors of the Garden State Seafood Association.
“The key to healthier fish is a clean ocean,” said Lovgren, an environmental advocate. “And, the key to the survival of fishing communities is stronger ties with the agricultural community.”
The seafood industry is thriving in New Jersey. The latest findings by the National Marine Fisheries Service show that in 2004, New Jersey commercial fishermen landed a record 187 million pounds of seafood valued at almost $146 million. That is up from 2003’s harvest of 170 million pounds of fish, which had a dockside value of $121 million.
New Jersey has six fishing ports: Point Pleasant, Atlantic City, Belford, Point Norris and Barnegat Light, and Cape May, which is the first largest port in the nation in terms of dollar value, landing $68.1 million in 2004. With annual retail, import and export sales in excess of $2 billion, New Jersey seafood is vital to the state’s economy.
Since 1977, National Fisherman has recognized three fishermen annually with the Highliner Award. In even numbered years, east coast fishermen -- Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico --are recognized, and in odd numbered years west coast fishermen (including North Pacific) are recognized. Nominations for this recognition are solicited from fishermen's associations, past award winners and other fishermen. Selections are made by the editors of National Fisherman.