For many years there were important cod and mackerel fisheries here and Duxbury clams were famous; there were large shipyards in Duxbury in the 18th century and in the first half of the 19th.
The waters of the coast and bays abound in shad, menhaden, bluefish, weak-fish (squeteague), clams and oysters.
Until 1901 New Jersey's fisheries were more important than those of any other state in the Middle or South Atlantic groups; but after that date, owing to a decrease in the catch of bluefish, shad, clams and oysters, the annual catch of New York and Virginia became more valuable.
Clams are gathered from Perth Amboy to the upper Delaware Bay; the most important fisheries being at Keyport, Port Monmouth and Belford.
In 1909 the State Bureau of Shell Fisheries estimated the annual value of shell fisheries in the state at nearly $6,000,000, of which $500,000 was the value of clams. Monmouth, Ocean and Cape May counties furnish large quantities of menhaden, which are utilized for oil and fertilizer.