Volume and Value of Marine Ornamentals Collected in Florida, 1990–98
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The marine life fishing industry in Florida is defined by the state as the non-lethal harvest of marine plants, finfish, and invertebrates that are sold live for commercial purposes (primarily into the saltwater aquarium industry). Approximately 330 different species of finfish and invertebrates are harvested by marine life collectors in Florida, including 180 species of finfish and 150 species of invertebrates and plants. In 1998, the total dockside value of these species was approximately US$1.9 million. The industry is highly regulated via limits on gear, handling methods, harvest sizes, and trip/bag/possession limits. Entry into the industry has been recently curtailed by the implementation of a moratorium on marine life endorsements. The total number of licensed harvesters exceeded 700 in 1998. Approximately 70 wholesales buyers also participated in the market during 1998. The majority of the dockside value is generated in south Florida, with the majority of the remaining value accruing from the region including and north of Tampa Bay. Over 80% of the total value associated with both finfish and invertebrates is generated by only 10 species within each group. Dockside prices vary considerably among the various species landed, with those landed in greater volumes exhibiting the lower prices.
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