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Census reveals evolving New Jersey aquaculture industry

NEW JERSEY - The number of aquaculture farms in New Jersey tripled over a seven-year period, according to the recently released United States Department of Agriculture Census of Aquaculture.

The 1998 census showed that there were 28 aquaculture farms in the Garden State, while there were 87 farms in 2005.
The increase is attributable, in part, to better identification of producers.
The census, conducted by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, showed that New Jersey aquaculture was diverse, growing everything from clams, oysters and four varieties of food fish to ornamental fish, such as koi, goldfish, tropicals and baitfish.

“We are working to strengthen and grow a vibrant, sustainable aquaculture industry that is sensitive to the environment,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus. “We are starting out with small, innovative producers who are bringing new products to the marketplace.”

In 2005, the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Program awarded a $47,100 USDA Value-Added Producer Grant to a group of seven aquaculture producers in the state for the marketing of clams under the Jersey Seafood brand name.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture established an Aquatic Farmer License program in 2004 to foster the growth of a viable and vibrant aquaculture industry in New Jersey. The license was established to allow producers to demonstrate definitive ownership of the organisms being cultured and reduce the possibility of the introduction of exotic pests that may be detrimental to wild stocks and other aquatic farms.

Source: American Farm

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