Monthly Archives: September 2014
One of the more interesting parts of being a Sea Grant Agent is when people send me their ‘Do you know what this is?’ mystery finds. A recent one came from my friend Kelly. Kelly’s husband Jimmy, a commercial blue crabber, found it in his trap up in the Peace River. Now it’s no surprise that strange creatures lurk amongst us, but every so often one pops up that is just absolutely ‘made for movies’ odd looking, and the photo Kelly sent me was right up there in that category.
When I looked at the picture I immediately thought some kind of prawn (large shrimp) but not being a freshwater guru I really wasn’t certain so I reached out to a few scientist friends. Between them I learned there are native freshwater shrimp, got a couple of papers to help me key Jimmy’s critter out, and got a contact at the Florida Museum of Natural History who would be able to confirm the identification.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent survey on farm production, Florida aquaculture ranked 6th amongst U.S. states with 619 farms reporting $95.6 million in sales. Florida’s top aquaculture sector continues to be ornamental fish (freshwater and marine tropical, koi, and goldfish) with 155 farms reporting farm-gate income of $42.9 million. In fact, Florida is the number one U.S. producer of ornamental fish followed by California at $5.3 million.
Shellfish production, specifically hard clams, is Florida’s second largest aquaculture segment. According to the USDA report Florida has 154 farms reporting $15.7 million in sales in 2012. Florida ranks 6th in the nation behind other states that culture shellfish (clams, oysters or mussels) such as Washington, Virginia, Louisiana, California, and Connecticut.
The USDA report also found 126 Florida farms are producing a wide variety of “other species” with a sales value of $12.9 million. Florida crustacean production such as shrimp, crawfish, and prawn ranked 4th in the United States with 22 farms selling $10.6 million worth of product after Louisiana, Texas, and Hawaii.