Belford Dock in '87
The Belford Co-op Dock in 1987 - N.Stolpe Photo

Photo of Belford - 1999
The Belford Co-op Dock today


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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.

Net memding at Belford
Mending a net at the dock

Belford draggers
Two of Belford's otter trawlers

Belford lobster boat
A modern lobster boat at Belford

Packing pogies into barrels
Packing menhaden for the bait trade 

The restaurant
The Co-op's restaurant