Overview - Fast Facts

(updated July 2014)

Our Mission

Managing fish and wildlife resources for their long-term well-being and the benefit of people.

Our Staff

  • 2,112.5 full-time employees
  • Locations
    • Headquarters in Tallahassee
    • Five regional offices:
      Panama City, Lake City, Ocala, Lakeland and West Palm Beach
    • Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg
    • 76 field offices and facilities

Our Territory

Florida has...

  • 53,927 square miles of land
  • 12,133 square miles of water
  • More than 34 million acres of public and private land
    • Including 5.8 million acres of wildlife management areas (one of the largest public-hunting systems in the country)
  • 2,276 miles of tidal shoreline (8,426 "detailed" miles)*
  • Approximately 12,000 miles of fishable rivers, streams and canals
  • About 7,700 lakes (of 10+ acres), covering 3 million total acres

Our Fish and Wildlife

The FWC protects and manages...

  • More than 575 species of wildlife
  • More than 200 native species of freshwater fish
  • More than 500 native species of saltwater fish

...balancing these species' needs with the needs of approximately 19 million residents and the millions of visitors who share the land and water with Florida's wildlife.

Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife-watching Participation (age 16+)

  • Number of hunters - 242,000
  • Number of anglers
    • Freshwater (residents) - 956,000
    • Freshwater (nonresidents) - 258,000
    • Saltwater (residents) - 1,390,000
    • Saltwater (nonresidents) - 1,007,000
    • Days of Fishing - 57.6 million
  • Number of wildlife watchers - 4,308,000

Annual Economic Impact

  • Hunting - $1.07 billion, 14,700 jobs
  • Freshwater Fishing - $1.75 billion, 14,000 jobs
  • Saltwater Fishing - $13.15 billion, 109,300 jobs
  • Wildlife Viewing - $5.12 billion, 44,600 jobs
  • Boating - $10.56 billion, 82,800 jobs
  • Florida Seafood Industry (2012)
    CategoryJobsSalesValue-added
    Commercial Harvesters 6,028 $396 million $166 million
    Seafood Processors and Dealers 4,819 $774 million $294 million
    Importers 44,018 $12.1 billion $3.7 billion
    Seafood Wholesalers and Distributors 10,403 $1.2 billion $592 million
    Retail 16,873 $2.10billion $789 million
    Total 82,141 $16.6 billion $5.5 billion

    For the chart shown above, the economic impacts of the commercial fishing sector and seafood industry refer to the employment (full-time and part-time jobs) and output (sales by Florida. businesses) generated by the commercial harvest sector and other major components of the U.S. seafood industry, including processors and dealers, wholesalers and distributors, grocers and restaurants.
    Source: National Marine Fisheries Service, Fisheries Economics of the U.S. (2012)

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Our Public Responsibilities

  • Law Enforcement - We enforce rules to protect fish and wildlife, keep waterways safe for millions of boaters and cooperate with other law enforcement agencies providing homeland security. FWC law enforcement officers are among the first on the scene to help when natural disasters occur, because of our specialized equipment to access remote, hard-to-reach locations.
  • Research - Our scientists work to provide information for the FWC and others to make management decisions based on the best science available involving fish and wildlife populations, habitat issues and the human-dimensions aspects of conservation.
  • Management - The FWC manages the state's fish and wildlife resources based on the latest scientific data to conserve some of the most complex and delicate ecosystems in the world along with a wide diversity of species.
  • Outreach - We communicate with a variety of audiences to encourage participation, responsible citizenship and stewardship of the state's natural resources. This includes: 
    • Hunter safety training;
    • Boating safety classes;
    • Birding classes and outdoor recreation classes, including fishing and hunting;
    • Programs designed to expose children to positive experiences in nature;
    • Programs specifically for people who are not traditionally taught outdoors activities;
    • Programs and messages designed to help Floridians coexist with a variety of wildlife;
    • Public information - answering thousands of telephone calls and email questions annually on subjects relating to hunting, fishing, wildlife habitats, outdoor recreation, weapons, boating, protected species and nuisance animal complaints.

Sources

  • Florida Handbook 2009-2010, 32nd Biennial Edition
  • Atlas of Florida, Revised Edition 1996
  • U.S. Census Bureau
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: "2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation"
  • Southwick and Associates for American Sportfishing Association: "Sportfishing in America. An Economic Engine and Conservation Powerhouse"
  • Southwick and Associates for Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies: "Hunting in America. An Economic Engine and Conservation Powerhouse"
  • Southwick and Associates: "The 2011 Economic Benefits of Wildlife Viewing in Florida"
  • Marine Industries Association of Florida
  • NOAA Fisheries

  

* Tidal shoreline, detailed - takes bays, sounds and other bodies either to the head of tidewater or to a point where such waters narrow to 100 feet.

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FWC Facts:
Florida has 3 million acres of freshwater lakes and 12,000 miles of streams and rivers - home to more than 250 different species of freshwater fish.

Learn More at AskFWC