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



  • 1,779,030 recreational saltwater licenses sold (resident and nonresident and includes permits but not Gulf Reef Fish Angler) in fiscal year 16/17
  • $30,821,876 in revenue generated in FY 16/17


Economic impact:

  • Saltwater recreational fishing- $8.0 billion
  • Supports: 114,898 jobs                                                               

(Source: National Marine Fisheries Service, 2017 report, using 2014 NOAA data)



Florida #1 in number of International Game Fish records

  • Total Florida Records (including retired records): 4,557
  • Total Current Records (international): 6,935
  • Current Records from USA: 2,932
  • Current Records from Florida: 979

Top Countries(current records)

  1. USA – 2,932
  2. Australia – 519
  3. Japan – 391

Top States(current records)

  1. Florida – 979
  2. California – 323
  3. Alaska – 320

Saltwater Commercial Fishing


  • 10,914 Saltwater Products Licenses sold, generating revenue for the state totaling $946,185 – 2016/17 Fiscal Year (SPL only, does not include RS or MS)
  • 9,382 individual commercial SPL accounts 16/17 FY
  • 1,691 wholesale dealers (1 license per person) and there were 6,075 retail dealer licenses sold generating $1,206,720 in revenue. – 2016/17 FY


 Landings Data

The top 4 species in dockside value harvested during 2016 in Florida were:

  • Spiny lobster ($54 M)
  • red grouper ($53 M)
  • Shrimp (45.9 M)
  • stone crab (30.4 M)

2016 Florida commercial landings:

  • 374,794 commercial fishing trips caught approximately 85.3 million (M) pounds of fish, crab, clams (wild harvest only, excludes aquaculture), lobster, shrimp, and other invertebrates worth over $231 M in dockside value.
  • Marine life landings (live fish and invertebrates for aquaria and other uses) from 21,122 commercial collecting trips in 2016 amounted to 16.1 M individual specimens worth nearly $2.8 M in dockside value.


From the NOAA Fisheries of the United States 2016 report External Website

  • Americans consumed 4.7 billion pounds of seafood in 2016, less than the 4.9 billion pounds the previous year.
  • The average American ate 14.9 pounds of fish and shellfish in 2016, a decrease from the 2015 figure of 15.5 pounds.
  • U.S. consumers spent an estimated $8.76 billion for fishery products in 2016.
  • U.S. is the second largest consumer of seafood in the world after China and before Japan.


Updated February 2018


FWC Facts:
Approximately 1.7 million acres of Florida's remaining natural areas have been invaded by nonindigenous plant species, which have degraded and diminished our ecosystem.

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