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Fishing Industry

Know Florida

Circa 1935

With an investment of about $10,000,000 and approximately 11,000 persons employed, it produces from $6,500,000 to $20,000,000 annually, which is about 10% of the fish business of the United States.

Eight thousand boats comprise the fishing fleet, of which 13 are sailing vessels, 108 large motorboats, 3,915 smaller boats, and 4,231 other small boats, which bring to the fishing wharves from 122,000,000 to 145,000,000 pounds of fish and seafoods each year.

There are 246 wholesale establishments handling fresh and frozen fish products. Twenty-one establishments are engaged in the manufacture of seafoods, their by-products and other products of the fishing industry, such as the manufacture of oil, used commercially in making paints, lubricants, soaps, etc.; fish meal valued as a feed for livestock and poultry; fertilizers for field crops; buttons from the shells of crustaceans; glue and numerous other products.

Florida has the only commercial sponge fishery in the United States with 855 persons employed in 1929, producing 528,721 pounds, valued at $879,646.

Menhaden used in the manufacture of oil, produced 50,531,980 pounds of fish valued at $317,512.

The twelve seafood products that lead in commercial importance are, mullet, shrimp, red snapper, Spanish mackerel, catfishfish, kingfish, grouper, trout, oysters, redfish, bluefish and crappie. Each of these produced more than a million pounds in 1929, when mullet reached a total of 27,925,223 pounds. There are several dozen other varieties that produce from 100,000 to over 900,000 pounds and still others that are less plentiful on our markets.

Reduced to its simplest terms, oyster culture in Florida consists in: (1) acquiring suitable submerged bottoms under lease from the State; (2) cleaning and preparing that bottom for the growth of oysters; (3) sowing thereon shells or other material ("cultch") for the attachment and growth of young oysters, and transplanting seed oysters from natural beds; (4) insuring the production of larval oysters by the proximity of natural or planted beds of adult oysters; (5) protecting the oyster beds from natural enemies; (6) transplanting as occasion requires to prevent overcrowding and to facilitate growth and fattening, and (7) gathering, culling, shucking and sorting for the market.

Excerpt from "The Fishing Industry" Know Florida, Issued by the State Department of Agriculture, Tallahassee, Circa 1935, pg. 21.


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