LITTLE EGG HARBOR, N.J. — Rescuers in New Jersey have suspended their search for a missing fisherman whose clam boat was found empty in Little Egg Harbor.

The Coast Guard says the search was called off around 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Coast Guard units, New Jersey State Police and the Tuckerton Fire Department used a helicopter and a boat to search for the fisherman, whose boat was found aground on Hither Island in Ocean County.

Coast Guard Capt. Benjamin Cooper says suspending a search “is never any easy decision for rescuers.”

The fisherman, whose name was not released, told a relative Thursday night he had run aground but did not need assistance.

The boat was found containing fishing equipment Friday morning, but there was no sign of the fisherman.