Aquaculture production is now a $1.1 billion-dollar industry, according to results from the 2005 Census of Aquaculture.
The count was the second national aquaculture census by the Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The first took place in 1998.
Sales of fish, shellfish, and other aquaculture products grew about 12 percent between 1998 and 2005.
Census results show that food fish—including catfish, perch, salmon, hybrid striped bass, tilapia, and trout—accounted for about 62 percent of 2005 aquaculture sales. Mollusks—including abalone, clams, mussels, and oysters—comprised about 19 percent of 2005 sales. Crustaceans, such as lobsters and shrimp, and ornamental fish, such as koi and tropical fish, each accounted for about 5 percent of sales. Baitfish and sport fish comprised 4 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
Mississippi led the nation in sales of aquaculture products, with sales of nearly $250 million in 2005. Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana were the other states with sales topping $100 million. Louisiana supported 873 aquaculture farms, more than twice as many as any other state.
The 2005 Census of Aquaculture collected information on issues including production methods, water sources, sales, distribution, and farm labor. The census defined an aquaculture farm as any commercial or noncommercial site that raised, sold, or distributed at least $1,000 worth of aquaculture products during 2005.
Complete results of the aquaculture census are available at www.nass.usda.gov/aquaculture/.