The Economic Impact of Saltwater Fishing in Florida

Florida is the "Fishing Capital of the WorldExternal Website with more world record fish catches than any other state or country. From an economic perspective, Florida also leads all states in economic impacts for its marine recreational fisheries and has one of the top producing commercial fisheries in the country. Below are several statistics about Florida's recreational and commercial fishing industries and their economic role. 


Saltwater Recreational Fishing



  • 1,745,705 recreational saltwater licenses sold (resident and nonresident) in fiscal year 15/16
  • $37,555,602 in revenue generated in FY 15/16


  • Economic impact:
    • Saltwater recreational fishing- $7.6 billion,

    • Supports: 109,300 job                                                                (Source: National Marine Fisheries Service, 2016 report, using 2014 NOAA data)



Florida #1 in number of International Game Fish records

  • Total Florida Records (including retired records): 4,497
  • Total Current Records (international): 7,595
  • Current Records from USA: 3,527
  • Current Records from Florida: 1,075

Top Countries(current records)

  1. USA – 3,527
  2. Australia – 505
  3. Japan – 391

Top States(current records)

  1. Florida – 1,075
  2. California – 342
  3. Alaska – 336

Saltwater Commercial Fishing

Licensing (updated 1/20/2017)

  • 11,219 Saltwater Products Licenses sold, generating revenue for the state totaling $966,275 – 2015/16 Fiscal Year (SPL only, does not include RS or MS)

  • 11,219 individual commercial SPL accounts (commercial fishermen) 15/16 FY

  • 1,657 wholesale dealers (1 license per person) and there were 5,637 retail dealer licenses sold generating $1,168,500 in revenue. – 2015/16 FY


 Landings Data

The top 4 species in dockside value harvested during 2015 in Florida were: 

  • shrimp (49.4 M)
  • spiny lobster ($47 M)
  • stone crab (34.3 M)
  • red grouper ($18.9 M)

2015 Florida commercial landings:

  • 381,713 commercial fishing trips caught approximately 84.6 million (M) pounds of fish, crab, clams (wild harvest only, excludes aquaculture), lobster, shrimp, and other invertebrates worth over $244 M in dockside value. 
  • Marine life landings (live fish and invertebrates for aquaria and other uses) from 24,692 commercial collecting trips in 2015 amounted to 15.3 M individual specimens worth nearly $3.5 M in dockside value.


From the NOAA Fisheries of the United States 2015 report

  • Americans consumed 4.9 billion pounds of seafood in 2015, more than the 4.6 billion pounds the previous year.
  • The average American ate 15.5 pounds of fish and shellfish in 2015, an increase from the 2014 figure of 14.6 pounds.
  • U.S. consumers spent an estimated $96.0 billion for fishery products in 2015.
  • The 2015 total includes $64.8 billion in expenditures at food service establishments (restaurants, carry-outs, caterers, etc.); $31.0 billion in retail sales for home consumption; and $199.2 million for industrial fish products
  • U.S. is the second largest consumer of seafood in the world after China and before Japan.


Updated January 2017


FWC Facts:
Florida's natural lands and waters are at the core of our state's prosperity, bringing billions of dollars in economic benefits to our state every year.

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