Middletown Township near Highlands in Monmouth County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
NOAA Fisheries Service
James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory
Established in September 1961, the Sandy Hook Marine Laboratory was the first Federal scientific laboratory devoted solely to research on marine recreational fish and fishing. It was originally located on the bay approximately 300 ft from here in the former Ft. Hancock Post hospital building. The 1959 passage of the Marine Game Fish Act enabled the beginning of the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, and the naming of the Laboratory’s first director, vanguard biologist Dr. Lionel A. Walford. The laboratory was incorporated into the new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1970.
On September 21, 1985, the Laboratory suffered a tragic loss when fire destroyed its original building, built in 1899, along with years of pre-electronic research data, and a 35,000 volume library.
The laboratory’s current mission is to conduct research and understand the effects of environmental variability and human disturbances on fish and shellfish productivity relative to habitat.
Research emphasizes resource species of commercial or recreational value such as bluefish, weakfish,
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Founder Dr. Lionel A. Walford
Today the laboratory, named for Congressman James Howard, a staunch supporter of maintaining a Federal marine presence here in New Jersey, is comprised of two buildings: Bldg. 74, a restored former Ft. Hancock enlisted men’s barracks constructed in 1909, and a new (1993) laboratory building across the street, designed to complement original Ft. Hancock architecture. The new and renovated spaces contain modern laboratories, and a 32,000 gallon aquarium with running seawater from the bay, supporting 22 seawater labs. A control room contains computers for configuring, controlling and monitoring the lighting and seawater systems. Dedicated laboratory suites support chemical and microbiological research. The facility houses the Lionel A. Walford Library which is noted for its collection of fisheries-related archives and journals.
Researchers from this laboratory have authored thousands of scientific publications.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Animals • Science & Medicine. A significant historical month for this entry is September 1961.
Location. 40° 27.507′ N, 74° 0.161′ W. Marker is near Highlands, New Jersey, in Monmouth County. It is in Middletown Township. Marker is on Magruder Road, on the left when travelingTouch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 74 Magruder Road, Highlands NJ 07732, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Superstorm Sandy High Water Mark (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Company, Attention! (about 300 feet away); This Is Why It’s Called Sandy Hook! (about 400 feet away); Sandy Hook Barracks Building #22 Built 1899 (about 400 feet away); Just Like A Small Town (about 400 feet away); New York Yankees vs. Hometown Sluggers (about 500 feet away); The Dead House (about 700 feet away); The Best of Care (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Highlands.
More about this marker. Several photographs appear on the marker, including images of the laboratories, a photo of the former Fort Hancock base hospital and a portrait of Congressman James Howard.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 7, 2023. It was originally submitted on April 16, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 596 times since then and 45 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on April 16, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.