Growing urbanization, suburban sprawl and rapid growth of vacation communities are
increasingly pressuring environmental and water
not only the fishing and aquaculture
industries but competition for
space and skyrocketing real estate to its changing surroundings.
Clearly, the men and women working in New Jersey’s seafood industry represent the result of evolutionary changes in how the catch makes its way from the oceans and bays to the dinner table.
The importance of seafood in diet
The diets of American consumers have undergone something of an evolution themselves, and seafood is playing a more prominent role today than in the past.
To be sure, Americans spend more time thinking about their food today. No day passes without some new or rehashed information about health-conscious diets and the dangers of obesity. This has led to consumers who are more demanding than ever about the health benefits of what’s on their plates.
A USDA report in the summer of 2004 urged adding more fish to the diet to assist in reducing Americans’ waistlines as well as cutting the risk of coronary artery disease. The USDA report recommended that fish containing heart-protecting omega-3 fatty acids should be doubled to two servings a week, at 6 to 8 ounces per serving.
Seafood also has the advantage of being convenient, quick and easy to prepare, fitting perfectly with Americans’ demand for healthy foods that fit into our busy schedules.
As these dietary recommendations make their way into consumer demands, it will be even more advantageous to have a thriving seafood industry in New Jersey. As with produce and other agricultural products, consumers prefer fish that is as fresh as it can be, making the existence of an abundant local supply crucial.
Planning for the future
The information in the following report illustrates that it is not only nostalgia that dictates New Jersey do all it can to preserve and enhance its seafood industry, but also sound economic logic.
Clearly, embracing aquaculture and fishing as integral parts of the state’s agricultural output is good for all of New Jersey. That is why the New Jersey Department of Agriculture has embarked upon a marketing program to support this important sector of our agricultural community.