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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida's aquaculture industry sold $69 million worth of fish, alligators, aquatic plants and other animals last year. State agriculture officials said this week that ornamental fish made up the most sales, with $35.5 million sold in 2012. Sales of aquaculture for human consumption - things like marine fish, clams, oysters, shrimp, prawns, alligators and turtles - totaled $24.1 million.
The last statewide aquaculture survey was conducted in 2005 and showed $66 million in sales. Officials say sales of ornamental aquaculture declined between 2005 and 2012. Most of the state's aquaculture farmers are small and family owned; 61 percent of the farms are less than 3 water acres in size. Aquaculture farmers have suffered losses in recent years due to unseasonably cold winter weather.