Commissioner Adam H. Putnam


Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making
Seafood for Kids

Learn About Seafood

Claus the Crab

I'm Claus the Crab and I love sharing facts. Here are some fun facts about Florida Seafood. Pay close attention, I think I overheard my friend Finn saying that he might use some of these facts in his games.

Choose a category:


History

  • People have been eating seafood since the ocean was discovered.
  • The Pilgrims began fishing as soon as they reached the New World.
  • Fishing was the first industry in the United States, giving people jobs and lots of food!

Seafood

  • Fish skin is normally covered with scales.
  • Shrimp is everyone's favorite seafood.
  • An oyster is a shellfish that is also a member of the mollusk family.
  • Mollusks are soft bodied animals that are mostly found in saltwater. Most mollusks, like clams and oysters, have a hard shell. Some of them such as squid and octopus don't have shells.
  • Scallops, shrimp and crabs are examples of shellfish.
  • Some shellfish, mollusks, like oysters and scallops have very hard shells. Other shellfish, crustaceans, such as crabs, lobsters and shrimp have shells but they are not as hard.
  • Spiny lobsters do not have claws but they do have antennae.
  • Flounder are popular saltwater fish. They are unique because they are flat, swim on their side and both eyes are on the side of their head after they are grown up.
  • A mullet is a Florida fish that often jumps out of the water.

Industry

  • Florida has over 1,000 miles of coastline where our fishermen catch seafood, bringing in about 90 million pounds of seafood a year!
  • Commercial fishermen catch seafood to sell to restaurants, seafood markets and grocery stores.
  • Recreational fishermen like to go fishing for fun and they take their catch home to eat.
  • Over 98 different kinds of seafood are harvested in Florida.

"Aqua-what?"

  • Aquaculture is the 'farming' of animals and plants in water.
  • Florida is a world leader in the farming of fish and plants for home aquariums.
  • Great farm-raised seafood from Florida includes clams, catfish, alligator, hybrid striped bass, shrimp and tilapia.
  • Florida clam seeds (tiny baby clams) are placed in protective nylon mesh bags to grow in the ocean. When they are bigger, the bags are pulled up and the clams are sold for food. This is an example of aquaculture!

Seafood: Tasty and Healthy

  • Seafood is a good fuel for your body. It's a member of the meat group and is very high in protein, which helps build muscles. Just a quarter-pound of fish will supply half the amount of protein our bodies need daily.
  • Seafood is also low in fat so people on a diet like to eat it.
  • It is important to wash your hands before and after touching raw seafood.

From Ocean to Table

  • Fishermen use special equipment to catch each type of fish.
  • To catch fish that live in deep offshore water, such as red snapper and grouper, fishermen use a method called long-lining. They reel out miles of lines with baited hooks then come back to see what they've caught!
  • Other types of fish, like mullet, that do not easily take bait from a hook are caught by using a cast, beach or haul seine net.
  • Oysters are harvested by hand using long tongs.
  • Crabs and spiny lobsters are caught using traps.
  • Shrimp are caught using a boat called a trawler. These boats have cone-shaped nets that are towed along the ocean floor in waters near shore.
  • Shrimp nets have doors to keep turtles from being caught.
  • Seafood is unloaded at docks. Afterward, it is sent for processing and packaging so we can all enjoy fresh Florida seafood!

Smart Shopping Tips

  • Smell the fish! It should smell like a fresh ocean breeze, not 'fishy' or bad.
  • Make sure the fish's eyes are bright and clear.
  • The fish's skin should be bright and shiny, not faded or dull.

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