Did You Know?
Delaware Bay provides jobs, supports our nation’s economy, serves as a highway for transportation of goods and people, and plays a role in national security. The maritime commerce in the Delaware River and Bay is substantial.
The bay supports the world’s largest freshwater port and is the largest receiving center for crude oil, steel, paper, and meat imports. Approximately 70 percent of the oil shipped to the East Coast of the United States passes through the Delaware Estuary, making it the second-largest refining petrochemical center in the nation. The Port of Wilmington alone is an economic engine responsible for over 19,000 jobs, $409 million in business revenue impact, and $28 million in annual State and local taxes. It is also the number one port in North America for the imports of fresh fruit and specifically, bananas.
Delaware Bay has more than 200 resident and migrant fish species. The streams and rivers that drain into the Delaware Bay support many species of fish that are harvested for both food and profit. Watermen and recreational fishermen harvest blue crabs, oysters, and fish in these coastal waters throughout most of the year. The annual harvest of Eastern oysters from the Estuary exceeds $1.5 million in market value and in 1990, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service, the value of the commercial finfishery in the estuary was about $1.4 million and the value of the recreational fishery in Delaware Bay alone was about $25 million.