This report provides an in-depth look at the declining environmental health of the Jersey shore and an examination of the impact this has on New Jersey’s economy. New Jersey’s tourism, municipal water supplies and coastal fisheries depend on the health of the Jersey Shore. The declining health has caused a 20% decrease in total commercial fishery revenues and the need to install a $5 million desalination plant in Cape May.
The health of the Jersey Shore is in jeopardy, as seen by the declining populations of hard clams and seagrasses, increases in harmful algae blooms and jellyfish, continued problems with bacterial contamination at beaches, and problems with low dissolved oxygen levels in the near-shore waters.
In addition to the in-depth look at the environmental health of the Jersey Shore, the report includes an examination of the impacts its declining health has on New Jersey’s economy.
Ecotourism is a significant and growing portion of the Shore economy.
There were 7.4 million visits from anglers in 2008
In all of New Jersey, wildlife-related recreation accounted for $1.6 billion in spending in 2006.
In Cape May, 100,000 birders spend $10 million a year in the local economy.
New Jersey’s coastal fisheries are already far less productive than they were decades ago, and continued pollution threatens the surviving fisheries. Key fisheries that have disappeared or gone into serious decline include bay scallops and hard clams. New Jersey’s commercial fishery industry had $169 million in revenue in 2008, down 20% since 1994.