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Agriculture Press Release

June 3, 1998

Florida Aquaculture Sales Total $102 Million in 1997


TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford today announced that farm sales of Florida aquacultural products totaled $102 million in 1997. This represents a 29 percent increase since a similar survey was conducted in 1995, and nearly three times estimated sales of $35 million in 1987. The biennial surveys are conducted by the Florida Agricultural Statistics Service.

"We have seen a substantial increase in sales of aquacultural products each time this survey has been conducted over the last decade," Crawford said. "This confirms that Florida aquaculture is a thriving and growing business."

As in previous surveys, tropical (ornamental) fish continued to dominate Floridas aquaculture industry. There were 203 active growers of tropical fish in 1997, accounting for $57 million, or 56 percent of total sales. Tropical fish accounted for 67 percent of total sales in 1995. The aquatic plants category, with 59 growers and $13.2 million in net sales, was second in value. This category includes plants for aquariums and farm-produced plants used in wetlands restoration.

Clam production continues to grow rapidly, with sales by 318 growers valued at $12.7 million in 1997, more than doubling sales of $5.4 million reported in 1995. Alligators, with 26 active growers, contributed $3.19 million from combined hide and meat sales. Sport and game fish sales totaled $1.04 million, and sales from tilapia were steady at $1.07 million.

Forty-two catfish growers contributed $0.64 million. Other shell fish totaled $9.34 million. All other aquatic sales totaled $2.72 million from 14 growers. About 11,627 acres of land, including water surface area, was devoted to aquaculture production in 1997.

Aquatic species identified in the survey were tropical fish, catfish, alligators, oysters, clams, sport and game fish, crawfish, eels, tilapia, shrimp, aquatic plants and other minor aquatics. The value is based on farm sales of aquatics produced by Florida growers, and excludes harvest from open waters or the wild.

Growers also sold $3.5 million worth of tropical fish that they imported for immediate resale. All statistics in this release are for net Florida production and value, and exclude imports and purchases from other Florida producers for immediate resale.

There were 696 active producers, of which 552 reported sales in 1997. The survey also identified 109 potential new growers with intentions to produce aquacultural products for sale in 1998 or later. The largest increase is expected in clam production, with 64 new growers. Many of these new growers will be in production when they graduate from a training program in Charlotte County in June of this year.

For information about the aquaculture survey, call (407) 648-6013, or write:
Florida Agricultural Statistics Service
1222 Woodward Street
Orlando, FL 32803

For information about the Departments seafood and aquaculture program, call
(850) 488-0163, or write:
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture
2051 East Dirac Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32310

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For More Information:

Jeff Geuder
(407) 648-6013


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