U.S. aquacultural production comprises the production of food
fish, ornamental fish, baitfish, mollusks, crustaceans, aquatic
plants and algae, and some reptiles such as alligators and turtles.
These organisms are grown in a wide variety of climates, in either
fresh or salt water, and use a number of different production
The 2005 Census of Aquaculture reported farm-level sales of $1.1
billion. The catfish industry is the largest sector in U.S.
aquaculture, accounting for over 40 percent of all sales. Catfish
production is concentrated in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and
Louisiana. Catfish are grown in open freshwater ponds.
Other major foodfish species grown in the United States are
trout, salmon, tilapia, hybrid striped bass, sturgeon, walleye, and
yellow perch. With the exception of salmon, these fish are normally
grown in open freshwater production systems. Salmon differ somewhat
from other species, as they are hatched in fresh water and then
later transferred to saltwater net-pens for final growout.
Nonfood species are baitfish and ornamental fish. Baitfish are
produced in freshwater ponds, with Arkansas being the largest
producer. Ornamental fish production covers a large number of
species and a variety of growing environments, including fresh,
salt, cold, and warm water.
Aside from fish, U.S. aquaculture also produces freshwater
crawfish, mainly in Louisiana, and shrimp, in brackish ponds in
South Carolina, Texas, and Hawaii. The industry also farm-raises
mollusk species, such as abalone, oysters, clams, and mussels.
Mollusks are grown in almost every coastal area of the United
States and are produced using various systems.
Other species that fall under the definition of aquaculture
include the farmed production of alligators (mostly in Florida and
Louisiana), turtles, aquatic plants, and algae. Aquatic plant
production includes edible varieties, as well as plants for use in
wetland restoration projects. The best known algae produced in the
United States is spirulina, which serves as a nutritional
supplement and food additive and, also, as a feed component for
pets and ornamental fish.