TRENTON, NJ / ACCESSWIRE / April 1, 2020 / The recently passed CARES Act provides emergency loans and other forms of relief for American small businesses affected by the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The Act also included over $300 million specifically intended to help the domestic fishing industry, one of the many industries harmed by the ongoing closures necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19.
This federal support is essential for the future of New Jersey’s fishing industry, which is a key part of the state’s coastal economy. According to statistics compiled by the Garden State Seafood Association, New Jersey’s fishing industry landed over $170 million worth of fish in 2018. According to NOAA statistics, 68 percent of what consumers spent on seafood was at food service establishments, like restaurants, rather than in retail sales.
The fishing industry is one of the largest year-round employers and is responsible for thousands of direct and indirect jobs. According to a 2016 paper from NOAA, New Jersey’s seafood industry is the sixth largest in the U.S., and is responsible for 37,127 jobs, $6.2 billion in sales, $1.4 billion in income, and $2.3 billion in value- added impacts.
The industry landed over 190 million pounds of finfish and shellfish in 2018, worth a total of $170,261,000. Four of the top six commercial fishing ports in the Mid-Atlantic are found in New Jersey. The industry is responsible for significant harvests of Atlantic scallops, monkfish, shortfin and longfin squid, Atlantic mackerel, tunas, swordfish, black sea bass, summer flounder, Atlantic surfclams, and ocean quahogs.
The industry is concentrated at five major coastal ports; Belford, Point Pleasant, Barnegat Light, Atlantic City, and Cape May/Wildwood. The table below illustrates the 2018 landings at three of the ports, and their dollar value.
Table 1. New Jersey Ports by Pounds Landed and Ex-Vessel Value for 2018
|Point Pleasant||43 million||$32 million|
|Atlantic City||25 million|
|Long Beach-Barnegat||$24 million|
Since complete port data were not available for 2018, NOAA 2017 data for the five New Jersey coastal ports is in the table below. In 2017, these ports landed a total of 176.5 million pounds of seafood, with an ex-vessel value of $162.3 million (Table 2).
In the table below, the 2016 economic impact of the commercial fishing industry in New Jersey is broken down by port. New Jersey’s commercial fishing industry landed 411.02 million pounds of finfish and shellfish with a total landed value of $191.15 million dollars. The industry employed 1,107 commercial fishermen that year.
Table 3. 2016 New Jersey Commercial Fishing Industry Total Landed Value, Number of Fishermen, and Number of Vessels by Port.
The New Jersey commercial fishing industry invests millions of dollars annually to support the landing, processing and sale of this finfish and shellfish. Dollars are spent on vessel maintenance, financing of new vessels and equipment, cold storage infrastructure food processing and packaging technologies, and dock maintainence and improvements. The industry supports regional shipping chains and wholesale food distributers as 80 percent of the product landed leaves New Jersey for domestic and export markets.
All figures come from a report commissioned by GSSA, written by Dr. Eleanor Bochenek and Kevin Sullivan of Rutgers University.
About the Garden State Seafood Association
The Garden State Seafood Association (GSSA) advocates on behalf of New Jersey’s fishermen and fishing communities. Through closely monitoring regulatory developments, actively participating in the management process, and sharing the latest fisheries news and information with our members, GSSA holds our leaders accountable to the concerns and priorities of New Jersey’s hard working, historic fishing industry.
SOURCE: Garden State Seafood Association
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