A regulatory cost assessment of ornamental aquaculture farms in Florida

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The ornamental aquaculture trade is a diverse sector of aquaculture and faces unique challenges that other commodity groups do not have to contend with. The various production techniques, species, and destination markets make ornamental aquaculture an interesting study in how regulations impact the industry. In Florida, aquaculture is primarily regulated under the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, unique from other states. Regulatory costs and the value of lost production on ornamental farms in Florida were estimated to be $5.2 and $23.2 million, respectively. Results from an industry-wide census have shown that there is a high regulatory burden on ornamental farmers for some regulatory categories. These include issues of legal control of fish-eating predators, the restriction of drugs and chemicals, which would be beneficial to production, and the prohibition for farmers to raise species that have been restricted for culture at the national and state level. Larger farms were also able to limit the impact from regulations better than smaller farms by spreading their regulatory costs and value of lost production across greater sales. Although the values of lost production were high for ornamental producers, direct regulatory costs were low compared with other aquaculture commodities demonstrating that the industry in Florida may prove a regulatory model for other sectors.



Aquaculture economics, Aquaculture regulations, Florida, Ornamental fish, Regulatory costs