OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol
OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Aquaculture

What is the purpose of the division?

The Division of Aquaculture coordinates and assists in the development of aquaculture.  In addition to providing technical assistance, the division has a broad range of regulatory authority over the industry, including certifying aquaculture facilities, ensuring compliance with best management practices, managing aquaculture submerged land leases, inspecting and ensuring the safety of shellfish processing plants, classifying and monitoring shellfish harvesting waters, and facilitating production of the annual Florida Aquaculture Plan.
Aquaculture is the process of farming or growing animals and plants in a controlled aquatic environment.  Florida's five primary aquaculture products are tropical fish, aquatic plants, food fish, shellfish, and alligators. Florida is also the number one producer of aquarium fish in the United States.

What services are provided by the division?

The Division of Aquaculture is responsible for implementing Ch. 597, Florida Statutes, the Florida Aquaculture Policy Act, by
  • developing and enforcing regulations governing commercial aquaculture and shellfish (clams, oysters, and mussels) harvesting, and processing;
  • leasing coastal state submerged land for marine aquaculture;
  • providing practical and technical assistance concerning regulations, species and system production information, financial assistance, and educational programs;
  • certifying and inspecting shellfish processing facilities to maintain compliance with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP); and
  • classifying and monitoring shellfish harvesting areas, in accordance with the standards set forth in the NSSP.

What are some of the measures of division activity?

  • As of May 2020, the division administered 780 aquaculture and shellfish leases covering 2,750 acres.
  • The department inspects aquaculture facilities for compliance with best management practices. As of May 2020, the department issued 1,040 aquaculture certificates of registration and conducted 874 site visits.
  • The department conducts regular sanitary inspections of Florida's 120 shellfish processing facilities. Each shellfish processing facility engaged in intrastate shipment must apply to the department and meet inspection requirements established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These facilities must pass a certification inspection annually and then must be inspected no less than four times per year. If they pass the inspections, they are given a certification license and are permitted to sell shellfish products. As of May 2020, the department conducted 1,260 inspections and records reviews; 95.2% of inspected facilities significantly complied with permit and food safety regulations.

How are these activities funded?

Fiscal Year: 2020-21
Fund Salary Rate/ Position General Revenue Trust Funds
SALARY RATE
POSITIONS
SALARIES AND BENEFITS
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
FROM GENERAL INSPECTION TRUST FUND
OTHER PERSONAL SERVICES
FROM FEDERAL GRANTS TRUST FUND
FROM GENERAL INSPECTION TRUST FUND
EXPENSES
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
FROM FEDERAL GRANTS TRUST FUND
FROM GENERAL INSPECTION TRUST FUND
OPERATING CAPITAL OUTLAY
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
FROM GENERAL INSPECTION TRUST FUND
SPECIAL CATEGORIES
ACQUISITION OF MOTOR VEHICLES
FROM GENERAL INSPECTION TRUST FUND
SPECIAL CATEGORIES
CONTRACTED SERVICES
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
FROM FEDERAL GRANTS TRUST FUND
FROM GENERAL INSPECTION TRUST FUND
SPECIAL CATEGORIES
OYSTER PLANTING
FROM GENERAL INSPECTION TRUST FUND
SPECIAL CATEGORIES
RISK MANAGEMENT INSURANCE
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
FROM GENERAL INSPECTION TRUST FUND
SPECIAL CATEGORIES
TRANSFER TO DEPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT SERVICES - HUMAN RESOURCES SERVICES PURCHASED PER STATEWIDE CONTRACT
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
FROM GENERAL INSPECTION TRUST FUND
GRANTS AND AIDS TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND NONSTATE ENTITIES - FIXED CAPITAL OUTLAY
BASCOM FARMS
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
TOTAL
2,479,964
1,705,309

Updates

COVID-19 Economic Assistance Programs For Aquaculture:  The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is currently offering two economic assistance programs applicable to certified aquaculture farms, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). EIDL is intended to assist with economic injury because of COVID-19 and can be used for fixed debts, payroll and related benefits, accounts payable and other expenses that cannot be paid. PPP is intended to retain workers and maintain payroll and can be used for payroll and related benefits, mortgage interest, rents and utilities. Additional funding was appropriated from Congress to both of these programs on April 27th. Sole proprietorship businesses (farms with only a single employee/owner) are eligible for both programs.

Enforcement changes. The 2020 Legislature enacted Chapter 2020-135, Laws of Florida, authorizing the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to revoke an aquaculture certificate of registration if the department determines that aquaculture is not the primary purpose of the certified entity’s operation.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website.

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports
2019 Florida Aquaculture Plan, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, with the Aquaculture Review Council.
Websites of Interest
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture Disease Information
Local Small Business Administration offices 

Performance Information


Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Chapters 570 and 597, and ss. 20.14 and 253.67 through 253.72, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Division of Aquaculture, 850-617-7600

Website