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Cape May, NJ

 

Located on the southern tip of New Jersey, Cape May seaport is on Cape Island. This island was created by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1942. Historically, the area around Cape May was supported by agriculture, fishing, and whaling. By the 1700s the Cape May area had become a tourism hotspot for wealthy families from Philadelphia. It provided an escape from the city during the summer months. Cape May is still a popular vacation spot during the summer. Tourism is the leading driver of the economy, followed by fishing.

Celebrating Fishing

The Lobster House Dock offers a forty-five minute tour on  the history of the Cape May fishery. In 2014, the inaugural Cape May Seafood Festival was held highlighting the economic and food-supply contributions of Cape May's commercial and recreational fisheries. 

Recreational Fisheries

The Cape May County Fishing Tournament is one of the longest continuously running fishing tournaments
on the East Coast.

Commercial Fisheries

The combined port of Cape May/Wildwood is the largest commercial fishing port in New Jersey and is one of the largest on the East Coast. Cape May/Wildwood is the center of fish processing and freezing in New Jersey. Some of the largest vessels fishing on the East Coast are home ported here.

The primary seafood supply company in Cape May is Cold Spring Fish and Supply Company. This company specializes in the sale of black sea bass, bluefish, eel, red hake, tautog, shellfish, and lobster. Cold Spring provides 500 jobs and is the third largest employer in the county. F.H. Snow’s Canning Co/Doxsee is a large clam cannery based in Lower Township (not Cape May), and the only domestic manufacturer to harvest its own clams. Snow’s/Doxsee has the nation’s largest allocation for fishing and harvesting ocean clams. Established in 1954 in Cape May, Lund’s Fisheries, Inc., is a freezer plant and a primary producer of various species of fish found along the eastern seaboard of the U.S.. It is also a member of the Garden State Seafood Association. There is one other exporter of seafood in Lower Township, the Atlantic Cape Fisheries Inc. which exports marine fish and shellfish, oysters, scallops, clams and squids. 

In 2012 the commercial fishing industry landed 28 million pounds of fish, worth an estimated $72 million. In 2013, commercial landings were down to 20 million pounds, and the estimated value dropped to $35 million. Cape May’s fishing industry makes most of its money from the sale of scallops, squid, mackerel, and butterfish.

Top species harvested in port: Scallops, Butterfish, Summer Flounder, Scup, Black Sea Bass, Surf Clams, Ocean Quahog, Lobster, Herring, Monkfish.