Aquaculture Species of Florida
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Aquaculture Species of Florida

Red Grouper . Red groupers are found in tropical and warm temperate waters worldwide. . . They vary in size and weight, but are commonly marketed at 5-20 pounds. . The large, white-flaked flesh contains no intramuscular bones. .

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Aquaculture Species of Florida

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Aquaculture Species of Florida



Red Grouper

Red groupers are found in tropical and warm temperate waters worldwide


They vary in size and weight, but are commonly marketed at 5-20 pounds.

The large, white-flaked flesh contains no intramuscular bones.

The skin is tough and strongly flavored and should be removed during cleaning.





Most common over sand or sandy mud bottoms OFFSHORE along both the Gulf and the Atlantic coasts of Florida; migrates into bays during cold months.

Pale straw colored above, silvery sides and white below; no distinctive pigmentation, although faint diagonal lines may be present on upper body; 8 to 9 rays in the anal fin; large eyes; short snout; one to two prominent canine teeth usually present at the tip of upper jaw; lower half of tail longer than upper half.



Blue Crab

Blue crab is one of Florida's most important fisheries, with an annual value of about $50 million.

Florida produces about 10 million pounds of blue crab each year, with harvest peaking in autumn.

Blue crab is sold live or steamed.

The creamy, rich-tasting meat is low in fat and cholesterol and a good source of calcium and iron.




Shrimp is the most popular and valuable seafood in the United States and hundreds of are harvested from freshwater and saltwater.

There are four kinds of commercial value shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic waters.

They are categorized by four major colors: brown shrimp, pink shrimp, white shrimp and royal red shrimp.

The majority of the shrimp harvested in Florida are the pink type.



Stone Crab

Adult stone crabs are easily recognized by their oval body and two large claws.

The adult body of the stone crab is dark brownish red, more or less mottled and spotted with dusky gray.

An interesting feature about the stone crab is the mark on the inside of the large claw that resembles a thumb print.

Stone crabs are found along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts but are commercially harvested almost entirely in Florida.




The hard clam is a brown nearly oval-shaped bivalve mollusk with thick, hard shells that protect the meat.

It can grow to width of 4 1/2 inches and is marked by rings or ridges that indicate its growth and age which can be more than 30 years.

Hard clams are caught wild in the Florida's central and east coast waters. They are also harvested from leases in five east and west coast counties where they are farm-raised.




The body of the mullet is elongated and rather stout.

The color is a dark bluish on the top and silver along the sides.

It has a small mouth with closely set teeth and widely separately dorsal fins.

The large scales along the sides of the striped mullet consist of a dark center giving a distinct illusion of horizontal stripes.

The average weight is 2 to 3 pounds, but can be in excess of 6 pounds.

Mullet feed on aquatic plants and algae found floating, attached to the bottom or mixed in with surface sediments.

The mullet is considered a vegetarian and is the only fish that has a gizzard, much like a chicken, that is used to grind up and digest plant material.

Commercial harvesters use a cast, beach or haul seine net to catch mullet.



American Alligator

Florida wetlands are home to over one million wild American alligators and 30 Florida farmers ride herd on an additional 100,000 farm-raised alligators.

Land and wildlife management programs regulate the farming and harvest of the alligator and the sale of its products.




Oysters flourish in estuaries where nutrient-rich fresh water meets the salt water and feed mainly on single-cell plants.

When feeding, the oyster can pump and filter 25 gallons of water in 24 hours. Florida's estuaries provide suitable conditions and a plentiful food supply for Eastern oysters to grow rapidly.

They can reach marketable size in less than two years; whereas, it may take oysters up to six years to reach marketable size in colder northern waters.

When traveling along the Gulf Coast, you may see oysters being harvested commercially from small boats by fishermen using large, long handled tongs to scoop clumps of oysters from the bottom.




Amberjacks are found throughout Florida around natural or man-made reefs, rock outcrops and wrecks.

It is a colorful fish with lavender and golden tints and an amber band from the eye to the tail.

The back is blue or olive green and the side and belly are silvery-white. Occasionally amberjacks have an amber, even pinkish, cast to the body.



Spanish Mackerel

Found INSHORE, NEARSHORE, and OFFSHORE, especially over deep grass beds and reefs; absent from north Florida waters in winter.

Color of back green, shading to silver on sides, golden yellow irregular spots above and below lateral line; front of dorsal fin black; lateral line curves gently to base of tail.




Tilapia originated from Mediterranean and African countries and has been successfully cultured throughout the world in temperate to tropical regions.

Within the last few years, production of tilapia (pronounced "




-pee-ah") in the United States has exceeded freshwater trout. Tilapia is a hardy fish that will thrive in outdoor ponds.

Tilapia are produced with a wide range of skin colors, black to dark blue to brilliant golden red.





dolphinThe mahi-mahi (Cotyphaena


), also known as dolphin or dorado, is one of the most beautiful fish in the sea; brilliantly colored with an iridescent bluish green and gold body, and golden yellow fins and tail.

The mahi-mahi should not be confused with the mammal called dolphin.

One of the fastest swimming fish in the sea, they prefer the warmer tropical and subtropical waters of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Gulf Coast of Florida.




The name, "scallop," aptly describes the fluted edges of its fan-shaped shell.

The outside shell is delicately colored pink and white and the inside is pearly-white with a satiny luster.

Calico scallop meats vary from creamy white to light tan or pink.

They measure about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in diameter.


arvested with trawls and dredges in the deep offshore waters of Florida's Atlantic and northern Gulf coasts.



Yellow Fin Tuna

Torpedo shaped and beautifully colored, the yellow fin tuna (



) is a member of the very large mackerel (


) family.

They are one of the world`s most important food fish.

Yellow fin tuna can weigh up to 400 pounds but average weights are smaller in commercial catches.

In Florida they are commercially harvested exclusively with hook-and-line which makes the fishery "dolphin-safe."



Red Drum a.k.a. Redfish


are an INSHORE fish, migrating out of the estuaries at about 30 inches (4 years) and joining the spawning population OFFSHORE.


body, lighter shade in clear waters; one to many spots at base of tail (rarely no spots); mouth horizontal and opening downward; scales large.



Red Snapper

Red snapper (



), found off Florida's Gulf and Atlantic Coasts, is one of the best known and desired deep-sea delicacies.

Adult red snappers are easily distinguished from other red-colored snappers; they are deeper bodied, not as streamlined and have a bright red iris.

The back and upper sides vary from pink to red and the lower sides and belly are lighter in color.



Catfish, Farm-Raised

Channel catfish are produced from 177,360 acres of catfish ponds in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana with an annual yield of 470 million pounds.

The channel catfish is the only spotted North American catfish with a deeply forked tail and bluish, to olive-green back shading to a white belly.

At 18 months old (averaging 1 to 11 1/2 pounds), farm-raised catfish are harvested with seines (large, weighted nets) and loading baskets and shipped in aerated tank trucks to the processing plant.

Catfish are kept alive until processed, making them among the freshest freshwater fish available.

Genuine U.S. farm-raised catfish is ranked the fifth most popular fish consumed in the United States after shrimp, tuna, and cod.



Florida Largemouth Bass

It generally has light greenish to brownish sides with a dark lateral line which tends to break into blotches towards the tail.

It is easily distinguishable because the upper jaw extends beyond the rear edge of the eye.

Also, its first and second dorsal fins are almost separated by an obvious deep dip, and there are no scales on the soft-rayed second dorsal fin or on the anal fin.

Prefers clear,


waters with aquatic vegetation where food and cover are available.

They occupy brackish to freshwater habitats, including upper estuaries, rivers, lakes, reservoirs and ponds.

Also, they can tolerate a wide range of water clarities and bottom types, prefer water temperatures from 65 to 85 degrees, and are usually found at depths less than 20 feet.



Atlantic Sturgeon

Sturgeon in general are easily recognizable by the bony plates on their bodies and


(whiskers) on their chin. 

Sturgeon are among the oldest living species of fish and retain many primitive characteristics typical of fish during the age of the dinosaurs.

The Gulf sturgeon (a subspecies of Atlantic sturgeon) have a V-shaped snout with two pairs of


and two rows of plates in front of the vent. 

The back is typically blue black with a white or cream colored belly. 

Stays primarily in shallow offshore waters but come in to the rivers to spawn.