October, 1998

Florida's Seafood and Aquaculture Industries

The seafood industry is an important part of Florida's economy. It is estimated that 20,000 commercial fishing vessels, 1,370 shore-side processors and wholesalers, hundreds of support businesses supplying goods and services and 4,590 seafood retailers provide full and part-time employment to about 40,000 Floridians.

Seafood Platter

Florida fishermen harvested 145 million pounds of fish and shellfish in 1996. That catch was worth over $223 million at the dock and three to four times that amount when it was processed into finished products for consumers. Only a few states have more valuable landings than Florida. That is because Florida waters are home to many popular and high-valued species: groupers, snappers, tunas, sharks, swordfish, penaeid shrimp, rock shrimp, stone crab claws, blue crab, golden crab, oysters, calico scallops and clams to name just a few. In addition to state landings, Florida companies processed and sold nearly a $1 billion of imported fishery products in 1996.

Florida is also a major seafood processing state. Every year shrimp, shellfish and finfish processors add several hundred million dollars in value to domestic and imported seafood products. Several of the world's largest and most modern shrimp processing plants are located in Florida. (continued)

Website Feature:

There she blows! The Nantucket sleigh ride may be a tale from the past, but for the latest whale tails, er..tales the place to visit is WhaleNet.

WhaleNet is an interactive information source offering extensive up-to-date resources, engaging hands-on activities, and exciting educational opportunities. It is students, researchers and educators sharing, through Internet communication, personal field experiences, data and information.

WhaleNet is useful to everyone studying whales or the marine environment, going on a whale watch trip, using telecommunications to facilitate their learning or seeking communications with others who have similar interests. It plugs everyone into the latest in marine science and whale research and allows interaction between students, teachers and scientists around the world.


WhaleNet's primary goals are to facilitate and coordinate learning; enhance interest in science; develop problem-solving and other critical thinking skills; and increase environmental understanding using telecommunications.

Visit WhaleNet at

Howard Blackburn: Fisherman Hero

"The Herring Net" Winslow Homer

The story of Howard Blackburn's life epitomizes the classic theme of man against nature. In January, 1883, Blackburn, a young Nova Scotian fisherman, signed onto the Gloucester schooner Grace L. Fears. The Grace L. Fears, captained by Alec Griffin,  was bound for the Burgeo Bank, a rich fishing ground 60 miles south of Newfoundland. She was in search of halibut, the large flounder-like fish that can weigh upwards of 400 lbs.


A premium was paid to the first halibut schooner reaching port with a hold of fresh fish. The two masted schooner Grace L. Fears displayed the grace of a clipper ship, and her speed served her well on trips to the fishing grounds.

After a three day passage, the Grace L. Fears reached the Burgeo Bank and anchored. To catch halibut, the schooner would send out 6 dories, each with a two-man crew. The 18' dories were rugged boats with flared ends and flat bottoms. The boats were very seaworthy and became even more stable with a load of fish. (continued)

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Seacoast Information Services, Inc. 1998