Thursday, January 22, 2009

Active Fishing Industry in the Bayshore Begins with Highlands

The Borough of Highlands is historically a clamming town. We retain this heritage today in our support of the James T. White Clam Depuration Plant on Fifth Street and Cedar Avenue. Most recently individuals at the plant and working with Certified Clam corporation have participated in testing cutting edge technology which permits live shipment of shellfish internationally by boat, as well as cross continent in the US and to Canada by truck. This shipment method keeps packing and shipping costs low, reduces carbon emissions to the environment, and delivers a superior live product to the marketplace anywhere in the world for a more reasonable price. The Highlands Borough Council passed a Resolution last year supporting the development of a distribution terminal in Highlands Borough making her the hub on the United States Eastern Seaboard for this new packing and shipping method.

These latest technological developments in live shellfish shipment have created new excitement about Highlands' heritage and a better focus for seafood industry development in Highlands and the Monmouth County Bayshore region. Spin off discussions about strengthening retail shellfish operations in the Highlands Business District, and rekindling related retail business uses to support the shellfish industry are already heard about town. Thematic educational displays might be available to the Borough demonstrating the depuration process, and the new packing technology permitting low cost international shipment. There is even talk of encouraging development of a fish auction at one of the ports in the Borough.

All of these creative ideas could not have come at a more appropriate time, when the rest of the nation is grappling with increased joblessness and other effects of the worldwide economic downturn. I am encouraged by editorials in local newspapers that show others share similar thoughts regarding the direction of the local seafood industry. In Highlands Borough we are proud of the hard working clammers and fishermen who keep the industry alive, and delight us with delectable entrees night after night. It is difficult to justify cooking and eating at home, when such local fresh seafood is available via twenty restaurants in a half square mile!

I look forward to working with the people of Highlands and those who work here in our shellfish and seafood industry, making Highlands all she used to be and more. I believe we are the key to reviving the Bayshore regional economy. I am certain that the shellfish and seafood industry will be the core of that economic growth.