National Aquaculture Census

The first national Census of Aquaculture was conducted in 1998 by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Florida was identified as a leading producer of cultured clams with 221 growers reporting $9.5 million in sales. Since state surveys indicated Cedar Key was the major production area for hard clams, a municipal sign was erected boasting that the island community was USA’s number one producer of farm-raised clams. In the 2005 Census, Florida fell behind Virginia and Connecticut but led the nation in the number of clam farms with 154 growers reporting $10.7 million in sales. Eight years later, Florida was fourth in the nation in sales of mollusks with 132 farms reporting $19.6 million, up 68% from 2005 sales.

The most recent Census of Aquaculture was conducted in 2018. Highlights include:

  • Total sales of US aquaculture products reported by 2,932 farms was $1.5 billion, an increase of 10% from 2013.
  • In Florida, the total number of aquaculture farms that reported sales was 325, accounting for 11% of farms in the US.
  • The total sales of mollusks in the nation was $442 million, an increase of 34% from 2013.
  • In Florida, 115 farms reported $16 million in sales of mollusks down by 18% from 2013.
  • The decline reflected the shortage of seed and hurricane impacts on open water farms during this period.
  • Hard clams accounted for 89% of the sales with 95 farms reporting sales of $14.3 million, while 16 farms reported sales of eastern oysters at $1.25 million.
Florida Clam Sales, 1998-2018