Marine and Freshwater CrustaceansAlligators | Aquatic Plants | Crustaceans | Food Fish | Miscellaneous Species
Molluscs | Marine Ornamental | Ornamental Fish and Invertebrates
White shrimp (Litopenaeus setiferus), pink shrimp (Farfantepenaeus duorarum), Malaysian prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii), Australian red claw crawfish (Cherax quadricarinatus) and the non native Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) are produced in greater or lesser amounts in Florida for a variety of markets. Interestingly, all are grown in freshwater including the marine shrimp species (Pacific white, white and pink) that are grown in hard freshwater (nonpotable water used for irrigation with a hardness in excess of 100 parts per million calcium carbonate).
Production of Pacific white shrimp for retail and restaurant markets and as “seed” for national and international farms is limited to south Florida and the Keys. White and pink shrimp are raised for the live bait market. There is considerable demand as non native shrimp may not be used for live bait. Shrimp farming is highly speculative and technically demanding. The University of Florida, Indian River Research and Education Center, near Ft. Pierce, constructed with public funds outdoor demonstration ponds with the goal of providing research information, biological and economic, to potential shrimp farmers. Results suggest that pond culture will only yield a single crop per year. Adding greenhouses to the production system will jumpstart the small shrimp seeded to ponds (termed “postlarvae”) or become the principal production system for year round growth. As filtration technology advances, shrimp facilities will be able to be operated inland. The success of shrimp aquaculture in Florida will rely upon technical expertise, creative methods to reduce production costs, and a sound marketing strategy that addresses a limited production schedule and niche markets.
Malaysian prawn and the Australian red claw crawfish are being produced in tropical countries and are under investigation by universities in the U.S. southeast to resolve market, economic and production challenges for the U.S. farmer. Small farmers are attracted to these species because of reputed high market value and relatively easy production. The Malaysian prawn and Australian red claw are also being stocked into aquaponic systems for their feed habits that clean-up organic debris and as co-products for sale as seafood. Objective evaluations are needed to demonstrate marketability, technical feasibility and profitability. Florida 's subtropical environment and very competitive seafood market pose unique challenges to small farmers that yield product on an intermittent basis and in variable quantities.