Whatever their method, the captains and crews of these vessels know the pressure is on to remain viable. Increasing global competition has turned making the most of each voyage into a necessity.
As Ernie Panacek, general manager of Viking Village put it: “Because you have to compete with more people in the business, you need a better, higher-quality product.” The net result is an emphasis on more boats making shorter trips and bringing their catch home faster. This cuts the time between catch and consumption, giving consumers a better-tasting, safer and higher-quality product than ever before.
Like many ports, fishing communities in New Jersey are defined not only by shared commitment to and dependence on fishing, but also by a high degree of kinship. Fourth- and fifth-generation fishermen can be found at our ports as well as newcomers from other fishing nations.
The value of the seafood harvest extends well beyond the industry itself. The effects of a prosperous seafood industry are felt in other waterfront activities such as shipbuilding, maintenance and repair, support services (equipment, fuel, materials and supplies) and ecotourism. Most importantly, the dollars earned in fishing communities tend to remain in those communities, adding incrementally to the local economy and in turn strengthening the relationship between the industry and its home port.