NASS-CO: USDA Releases the 2018 Census of Aquaculture Results

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – December 19, 2019 – Total sales of aquaculture products in 2018 was $1.5 billion, an increase of 10.5% from 2013, according to the 2018 Census of Aquaculture released today by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. In 2018, there were 2,932 aquaculture farms with sales in the United States, down 5% from 2013. Five states – Mississippi, Washington, Louisiana, Virginia, and California – accounted for 51% of aquaculture sales and 37% of aquaculture farms in 2018.

“The 2018 Census of Aquaculture updates important information about the industry that we last produced in 2013,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “These valuable data tell the story of U.S. aquaculture, following and expanding on the Census of Agriculture. The information in the report helps trade associations, governments, agribusinesses, and others learn about aquaculture and make informed decisions that have a direct impact on the future of the industry.”

The 2018 Census of Aquaculture provides detailed information about production and methods, surface water acres and sources, sales, point of first sale outlets, and aquaculture distributed for restoration, conservation, enhancement, or recreational purposes.

Data highlights include:

  • The average sales per farm was $516,944.
  • Sales of food fish was $716 million, a decrease of 2% from 2013.
  • The sales of mollusks was $441.8 million, an increase of 34% from 2013.
  • Crustacean sales in 2018 was $100.4 million, up 18% from 2013.
  • Catfish and oysters are the top species in both sales and number of farms.
  • Catfish sales, valued at $366.8 million, accounted for 51% of all food fish sales in 2018.
  • Oyster sales, valued at $284.9 million, accounted for 64% of mollusk sales in 2018.
  • Mississippi led the nation in total aquaculture sales in 2018 with $216 million.

An aquaculture farm is defined as any place from which $1,000 or more of aquaculture products were produced and sold or distributed for restoration, conservation, enhancement, or recreation during the census year. Aquaculture is defined as the farming of aquatic organisms, including baitfish, crustaceans, food fish, mollusks, ornamental fish, sport or game fish, and other aquaculture products.

Farming involves some form of intervention in the rearing process, such as seeding, stocking, feeding, protection from predators, etc. Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic products caught or harvested by the public from non-controlled waters or beds are considered wild caught and are not included as aquaculture.

The Census of Aquaculture is a Census of Agriculture Special Study, or follow-on, that expands on the data collected for 2017. The last Census of Aquaculture was conducted in 2013.

To access the 2018 Census of Aquaculture results and other agriculture census data, visit

For state specific questions please contact:

Arizona – Dave DeWalt 1-800-645-7286

Colorado – William R. Meyer 1-800-392-3202

Montana – Eric Sommer 1-800-835-2612

New Mexico – Longino Bustillos 1-800-530-8810

Utah – John Hilton 1-800-747-8522

Wyoming – Rhonda Brandt 1-800-892-1660

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.