Florida's extensive shoreline and numerous inland waterways make sport fishing a major recreational activity. Commercial fishing is also economically important.
In 1998, Florida's commercial fish catch was 114,440,000 lb (51,910,000 kg), worth $188,560,000. That year, 76% of the volume and 79% of the value came from fishing in the Gulf of Mexico; the remainder was from Atlantic waters. The most important commercial species of shellfish are shrimp, spiny lobster, and crabs. Landings of spiny lobster in 1998 totaled 5.2 million lb (2.4 million kg) with a value of $19.4 million, accounting for 89% of the volume and 80% of the value for the US spiny lobster catch that year. Gulf coast shrimp landings totaled 25.2 million lb (11.4 million kg) in 1998. Valuable finfish species include grouper, swordfish, and snapper. Florida's commercial fishing fleet had 9,805 boats and vessels in 1997. In 1997, Florida had 28 Atlantic and 460 Gulf coast processing and wholesale plants employing on average 816 and 5,337 employees, respectively.
Both freshwater and saltwater fishing are important sports. Tarpon, sailfish, and redfish are some of the major saltwater sport species; largemouth bass, panfish, sunfish, catfish, and perch are leading freshwater sport fish. Florida had 1,044,603 sport fishing license holders in 1998 (coastal marine fishing does not require a license).