|The Port of Belford is located in the
shelter of Sandy Hook on the most northern section of the New Jersey coast.
With ready highway access, ocean-fresh seafood harvested by the fishermen
based in Belford can be in New York's Fulton market within an hour or to
any of tens of millions of consumers in the same day it was caught.
Many of the vessels berthed in Belford are owned by members of the Belford
Fishermen's Cooperative, one of the most active fishermen's cooperatives
on the Atlantic Coast. The fleet is composed of otter trawlers, gill netters,
lobster boats and purse seiners. Many of the fishermen there rely on the
"traditional" Mid-Atlantic mixed trawl fishery, having adjusted their fishing
- and marketing - efforts to be in tune with the annual migrations of the
silver and red hake, fluke, flounder, seabass and porgies that make up
a large part of their harvest.
Not too many years ago Belford was home to a large fish meal and oil
processing plant which utilized the menhaden stocks that are so plentiful
in all of the Atlantic coastal waters. While this plant shut down fifteen
or so years ago, there has been a recent resurgence in menhaden purse seining
by boats out of Belford. Today, however, it is to supply menhaden to an
expanding bait market.
The co-op has a large, recently modernized retail market and a seafood
restaurant that provide freshly caught seafood to the surrounding communities.