Florida Aquaculture is an extraordinarily diverse farming sector across the species, production systems and geographic locations found in the state. There are an estimated 1,500 species or varieties of fish, plants, molluscs, crustaceans, and reptiles grown. Florida aquafarms culture products for food and non-food markets that include seafood (fish and shellfish), freshwater and marine aquarium hobbyists, high fashion leather, water gardening, bait, biological control, biofuels, or as "seed" for national and international aquaculturists.
The Division of Aquaculture is responsible for implementing Chapter 597, Florida Aquaculture Policy Act, Florida Statutes, through:
- Developing and enforcing regulations governing: Commercial aquaculture and shellfish (clams, oysters and mussels) harvesting and processing.
- Leasing of coastal state submerged land for aquacultural purposes (shellfish or fish aquaculture).
- Providing practical and technical assistance concerning regulations, production information (species and systems), financial assistance, and educational programs.
- Certifying and inspecting shellfish processing plants to maintain compliance with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP).
- Classifying and monitoring shellfish harvesting areas, in accordance with the standards set forth in the NSSP.
As established in the Florida Aquaculture Policy Act, aquaculture is agriculture and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the lead aquaculture agency. The act directs the department to coordinate and assist in the development of aquaculture and to regulate aquafarms with the objectives of protecting or conserving Florida's natural resources. The act also directs the department to annually revise the Florida Aquaculture Plan [ ] as well as creates an advisory council to the Commissioner of Agriculture, Aquaculture Review Council, that the division administratively supports.
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Division of Aquaculture
600 S. Calhoun St., Ste. 217
Tallahassee, FL 32399
(850) 617-7601 Fax