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Aquaculture sales top $69 million in 2012

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By The Staff

Tallahassee – The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer services announced the 2012 Florida aquaculture survey showed $69 million in aquaculture sales in the state last year.

Florida aquaculture sales were reported by 404 farms on a statewide survey completed by the Florida Agricultural Statistics Service and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Florida aquafarmers produced ornamental fish, shellfish, alligators, aquatic plants, and food, game and bait fish, among other aquatic animals.

“We know Florida has some of the best seafood in the world. This survey shows that demand is still great for our high-quality, wholesome seafood,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.

• Ornamental sales totaled $35.5 million and consisted of freshwater and marine animals and plants, including freshwater fish, crayfish and marine fish, corals, live rock, snails and shrimp. These species are sold nationally for ornamental uses such as aquariums and water gardens. 

• Sales of aquaculture products for human consumption totaled $24.1 million and included freshwater and marine fish, clams, oysters, shrimp, prawns, alligators and turtles. 

• All other aquaculture totaled about $10 million.

The last statewide aquaculture survey was conducted in 2005 and showed $66 million in sales. However, aquaculture sales for food, including mollusks and food fish, increased by more than $2 million, while the biggest drop was in sales of ornamental aquaculture. There were 686 operations that reported being in business in 2012, of those, 404 reported sales during 2012. Many of the farms are small, family-owned and operated; 61 percent of the farms are less than three water acres in size. Total water acreage was 4,490.

In 2012, sales of mollusks reported by 139 producers were $11.9 million, up from $10.7 million reported by 153 operations in 2005. Hard clam sales comprised 98 percent of the total, while sunray venus clams and oysters accounted for the rest. Operations reported 255.8 million total clam seed planted and 136.3 million clams sold in 2012. Survival rate to harvest was reported to average 59.1 percent.

The complete survey can be accessed at www.FloridaAquaculture.com.