***MULTIMEDIA PACKAGE*** Andrzejczak Tours Cape May County Aquaculture Industry

Part of an Ongoing Series of Visits to Different Agriculture Regions across the Garden State

(PORT NORRIS) — Assemblyman Robert Andrzejczak (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland), the chairman of the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee issued a multimedia package Friday of highlights from his tour of aquaculture research centers and farm locations throughout Cape May County.

The aquaculture tour is part of an ongoing series of tours of New Jersey’s varied and diverse farming industry that the agriculture panel is conducting throughout the state. The tour series, conceived by Andrzejczak, is intended to help members of his committee get a first-hand look at the various types of research, farming and food processing that makes up the backbone of the state’s agriculture and agro tourism industries. It is his hope that this will help give the committee members a better understanding of the specific issues facing New Jersey farmers and the type of legislation that may be necessary to maintain the state’s position as the Garden State.

Locations visited on this leg of the tour include: Rutgers’ Aquaculture Innovation Center; Rutgers’ Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory; and the Green Creek Oyster Fishery.

The multimedia package consists of a video of Andrzejczak, Michael P. De Luca, the director of the Aquaculture Innovation Center, and David Bushek, Ph.D., the director of the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory discussing their excursion and audio and a transcript of same.

The video can be accessed directly via our website — www.assemblydems.com — or by clicking here.

The audio file is available upon request.

A transcript of comments is appended below:

Michael P. De Luca, Rutgers’ Aquaculture Innovation Center Director:
“Aquaculture is essentially a farming technique for seafood. Here at the aquaculture center, we’re raising shellfish, primarily oysters, to sustain the Delaware Bay Oyster Fishery.”

Robert Andrzejczak (D-Cape May), Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Chairman:
“Today we did an aquaculture tour; teamed up with Rutgers University; and we’ve toured multiple facilities and learned all about the oyster industry and now we are actually at the farm and learning more about the actual process of growing the oysters.

“What we want to do here in New Jersey and in my committee is take the state’s perception of aquaculture as fishing and bring it more towards agriculture as a farming industry.”

David Bushek, Ph.D., Rutgers’ Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory Director:
“Aquaculture is agriculture. I need to make that clear. Everybody should realize that growing animals, whether they’re on land or in the water, is a form of farming.

“In the State of New Jersey, aquaculture has been around for quite a long time, although it hasn’t been developed to the extent that it could, because the legislation around how aquaculture is regulated is sort of antiquated.”

De Luca:
“We have the potential here to create new jobs in South Jersey. There’s a lot of economic opportunities that we can support with an investment in aquaculture in New Jersey.

“It’s a green industry, in that it’s not smokestack industry. Shellfish are good for the environment. They clean the water. They provide habitat for other species. And, they’re in demand.

“The market for high quality oysters, which is what we have here in New Jersey, is growing.”

Andrzejczak:
“I feel like aquaculture could be a huge potential for the entire state. We’re looking for a new industry and new ways to grow the economy here in New Jersey and right now we are at a perfect location to do that. And the oyster industry has plenty of potential to expand and really grow small business and put people to work, but at the same time bring in revenue for the state.”