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June 26, 2018

Aquaculture Farming Is Booming in Florida and Louisiana

What makes aquaculture so successful in the southeastern U.S.

What is aquaculture? Also known as aquafarming, aquaculture is the farming of aquatic organisms in both coastal and inland areas involving interventions in the rearing process to enhance production, and it is “probably the fastest growing food-producing sector and now accounts for 50 percent of the world’s fish that is used for food,” according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

In the U.S., both Louisiana and Florida have thriving aquaculture systems. For example, because rice requires irrigation to grow, the lowlands of Louisiana are prime grounds for rice farming – and some Bayou State rice farmers have used their rice fields to harvest another important crop: crayfish. In fact, many rice farmers have used crawfish farming, as it’s called, to stay afloat through hard times in the rice industry.

Florida’s aquaculture industry spans a wide array of operations, from raising fish and animals for the pet industry to raising and harvesting a variety of fish and seafood for consumption. Top food fish sales in Florida come from farm-raised Tilapia and Catfish. The state’s aquaculture sector also includes the alligator industry.

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), there are more than 1 million wild alligators in Florida’s lakes, rivers, swamps, and marshes. The Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing, a division of FDACS, reports that there are 28 aquaculture companies in the Sunshine State that raise alligators. These companies are able to supply alligator meat, meat products, and alligator skins from raw to fully processed and ready to be made into consumer goods. Alligator skins are popular for use in luxury goods like shoes, belts, bags, and more.

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