NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — New Jersey currently has over 160 licensed aquatic farmers who are producing a variety of finfish and shellfish for food, ornamental fish and plants for water gardens, and sport fish for stocking and fee fishing operations. According to the Aquaculture Innovation Center at Rutgers University, the total economic impact of aquaculture to New Jersey is as high as $36 million.
However, applicants seeking permits for aquaculture projects must deal with 11 different state agencies and bureaus with various requirements. To streamline this process, Senator Jeff Van Drew sponsored two bills to streamline state rules for aquaculture farming projects. The bills — aiming to create a ‘one-stop shop’ for project permits, eliminating the bureaucratic maze that operators are forced to navigate — were signed into law on Jan. 9 by Gov. Chris Christie.