Aquaculture is the culturing of aquatic animals or plants in fresh, brackish or saltwater. Production occurs in ponds, tanks, aquariums, raceways, net pens or combinations of these containment systems either outdoors or indoors.
2) Where or from whom can I acquire production or technical information?
Please visit this webpage for aquaculture experts and sources of information: http://www.floridaaquaculture.com/bad/bad_prodtechinfo.htm . If you are looking for extension-style fact sheets written for farmers, then please visit http://fishweb.ifas.ufl.edu/publications/ , https://srac.tamu.edu/ or http://www.extension.org/freshwater_aquaculture .
3) Is there any financial assistance available to help me start a farm?
Please visit this webpage for financial assistance information: http://www.floridaaquaculture.com/bad/bad_finassistance.htm .
4) Where can I find Florida aquaculture economic data?
Florida aquaculture farm numbers, sales value and other economic data can be gleaned from the USDA Census of Agriculture which is collected every five years. For a summary of Florida aquaculture data derived from the 2007 Census of Agriculture, please visit: http://www.floridaaquaculture.com/publications/Issue_69.pdf . The next Census is scheduled for 2012.
Floridians that are raising aquatic species for commercial sale must annually acquire an Aquaculture Certificate of Registration from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Aquaculture Certification identifies your aquaculture products as cultured/raised products and identifies you as an aquaculturist so that there is no misidentification with the wild resource.
Examples of aquatic species include, but are not limited to, fresh, brackish or saltwater fish, molluscs, reptiles, crustaceans, plants, corals, echinoderms, and algae.
2) Why does the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services require an Aquaculture Certificate of Registration?
The Florida Legislature designated the Department as the lead state agency to encourage the development of aquaculture in Florida and to protect Florida 's environment through an annual Aquaculture Certificate of Registration and on-farm implementation of environmentally-oriented Aquaculture Best Management Practices. The Certificate and Best Management Practices have been developed with public and farmer input to ensure that commercial aquaculture facilities may not negatively effect the environment.
3) How or where is an Aquaculture Certificate of Registration application submitted?
An application form can be downloaded from this webpage, http://www.freshfromflorida.com/onestop/forms/15106.pdf , or you can call 850-488-5471 or email Aquaculture_Web@freshfromflorida.com to request an application package.
For new construction, applicants must include a site plan, a construction plan and associated timeline, species production plan and associated timeline, and a description detailing the implementation of appropriate Aquaculture Best Management Practices.
4) How long does it take to receive Aquaculture Certification after an application is submitted?
Most Aquaculture Certificates of Registration can be issued with 3-4 weeks of receipt of an application by the Division of Aquaculture. The initial on-site inspection of the facility can usually be done within this period.
5) Is an Aquaculture Certificate of Registration required if no products are sold?
No. The Florida Legislature did not intend to regulate hobbyists or homeowners that grow aquatic species for personal use or consumption.
6) What are the Aquaculture Best Management Practices?
The Aquaculture Best Management Practices are on-farm facility and management practices or standards developed specifically to protect Florida 's natural resources. Florida law requires that aquaculture facilities that possess an Aquaculture Certificate of Registration must implement the Practices. Please visit http://www.floridaaquaculture.com/publications/P-01499-booklet-07_BMP_RULE.pdf to read or download the Practices or call 850-488-5471 or email Aquaculture_Web@freshfromflorida.com to request a copy.
7) What are the regulations concerning the processing (icing or cutting) of aquatic products for human consumption?
Floridians that process or sell food products must possess a Food Permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Please visit the Bureau of Food and Meat Inspection webpage for more information: http://www.freshfromflorida.com/fs/inspectn.html .
8) Are any other licenses or permits needed beyond an Aquaculture Certificate of Registration to operate an aquaculture facility?
Aquaculture facilities that use well water will have to acquire a consumptive use permit (CUP) from one of Florida 's five water management districts. Please visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/secretary/watman/ for more information or consult your telephone directory to find a district office near you.
Aquaculture activities are defined as point source dischargers under the Clean Water Act. If an aquaculture facility produces more than 100,000 pounds of live product and discharges production-related water off the farm for more than 30 days per year, then they must acquire a National Pollution Discharge Elimination Permit. Call the Division of Aquaculture at 850-488-5471 or email Aquaculture_Web@freshfromflorida.com for more information.
Sovereign submerged lands are those water bodies within the state's territorial limits that were navigable at the date of statehood. These include coastal shores below mean high water, and navigable fresh waters such as rivers and lakes below ordinary high water. The public status of these lands is protected by the Public Trust Doctrine as codified in Article X, Section 11 of the Florida Constitution. The lands are held in Trust and managed by various state agencies (depending on the intended use) serving as staff to the Florida Cabinet sitting as the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund of the State of Florida.
Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund
The Board of Trustees consists of the Governor, the Attorney General, the Chief Financial Officer, and the Commissioner of Agriculture. The Board of Trustees is recognized in the State Constitution, and its powers and duties are provided by statute as the acquisition, administration, management, control, supervision, conservation, protection, and disposition of the state-owned lands under its control. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, through its Division of State Lands, performs all staff duties and functions related to the acquisition, administration, and disposition of state-owned lands to which title is vested in the Board of Trustees, with exceptions for certain activities of the water management districts and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services .
The State of Florida began leasing submerged coastal lands, suitable sites within estuaries or coastal bays, for shellfish farming (oysters and clams) in1893. For a description of Florida 's current leasing program please visit: http://www.floridaaquaculture.com/publications/P-00062&P-00070&P-01755-booklet_Aquapack.pdf .
2) How can I apply for a lease?
An application form is available online, please visit http://www.freshfromflorida.com/onestop/forms/15102.pdf .
If you have questions about the application and the application process, please call the Division of Aquaculture at 850-488-5471 or email Kal.Knickerbocker@freshfromflorida.com
3) Are there locations in coastal waters that are better candidates for aquaculture purposes?
Yes. If you are interested in leasing state lands to culture shellfish (oysters, clams or mussels). Edible shellfish can only be harvested from designated Shellfish Harvest Areas that are managed to yield wholesome seafood for human consumption. Visit http://www.floridaaquaculture.com/seas/seas_shamap.htm to view or download Area maps. When examining the Area maps, look for locations within the boundaries of Areas designated as Approved or Conditionally Approved.
If you are interested in leasing state lands to produce fish or crustaceans in a floating or submerged net pen/sea cage, then you are limited to state waters that lie between 3.45 and 10.376 statute miles seaward of the Gulf of Mexico coastline and between 1.15 and 3.45 statute miles seaward of the Atlantic Ocean coastline. There are also other limitations related to navigation lanes or other state or federal designated uses and the practicalities associated with net pen/sea cage operation that will guide the selection of an appropriate site. Please contact the Division of Aquaculture at 850-488-5471 or email Paul.Zajicek@freshfromflorida.com for assistance.
Please visit http://irrec.ifas.ufl.edu/teachaquaculture/ for educational materials specific to Florida and links to information from the National Aquaculture Education Network.
The Division of Aquaculture also offers an educational resource guide, http://www.floridaaquaculture.com/publications/P-01479-booklet_AITC%20GUIDE.pdf , and a publication entitled “Aquaculture in the Classroom” as a compressed zip file. Please visit http://www.floridaaquaculture.com/pub.htm and then scroll down to the section entitled “Education.” The fourth item down is the publication.
2) Are there Florida community college or public or private universities that offer aquaculture degrees?
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution at Florida Atlantic University supports educational and marine aquaculture research programs. The Aquaculture Center for Training, Education and Demonstration integrates traditional education with practical industry experience. Their goal is to prepare students for a career, start or expand an aquaculture business, implement new technology, or continue with additional education and training. Students benefit from learning by participating in research projects and production studies. Key concepts and new technologies from each research program are incorporated in the curriculum, and are reflected in the hands-on activities and course manuals. Marine aquaculture research at a 30-acre Aquaculture Development Park has a goal of researching and developing economically feasible and environmentally sustainable methods to grow fish, molluscs and crustaceans for food and stock enhancement. They place a high priority on research projects that lead to commercial applications and technology transfer programs that support the expansion of competitive and sustainable aquaculture industries. Please visit http://www.fau.edu/hboi/ .
Hillsborough Community College provides students the opportunity to earn an Associate in Science or Associate in Applied Science degree for an entry-level employment as an aquaculture field/farm assistant or laboratory technician. Please visit http://www.hccfl.edu/br/departments/aquaculture.aspx .
Florida Institute of Technology established the first undergraduate training program in the United States in 1977. Emphasis is placed on developing skills in the biological sciences and learning culture methodology and technology for important aquatic species. Please visit http://www.fit.edu/ .
University of Florida , School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Program of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, provides objective science to support the protection and management of fisheries and aquatic resources, with innovation and excellence in research, education and extension. Faculty have programs in four areas: Aquaculture, Aquatic Animal Health, Conservation and Management of Natural Environments, and Sustainable Fisheries. Many projects span these areas and involve collaboration with other scientists at the University of Florida , other universities and institutes, and state & federal resource management agencies. Students can achieve undergraduate or graduate degrees. Please visit http://fishweb.ifas.ufl.edu/ .
University of Miami , Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Aquaculture Program plays a major role in aquaculture research and development, consultation and participation, technology transfer of marine fish hatchery and growout for commercial operations. Emphasis is placed on technology and management strategies for sustainable aquaculture development, including marine fish and crustacean aquaculture, environmental issues and project development. Degrees offered include Master of Arts and Master of Science in Aquaculture through the divisions of Marine Affairs and Policy and Marine Biology and Fisheries. An interdivisional Ph.D. degree is also available. Please visit http://aquaculture.rsmas.miami.edu/ .