Sarasota County Water Atlas

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Florida's East Coast Fisheries

Florida's east coast supports a wide array of fish and crustaceans such as cobia, crab, mackerel, snapper, and tuna. Much of Florida's east coast is part of the South Atlantic Bight. Unlike the west coast, the east coast features a very narrow continental shelf that quickly falls away to the sea floor. The compacted shelf supports a great diversity of ecosystems and an abundance of fish.

Not only does the marine geography support great ecological diversity on Florida's east coast, but the confluence of the numerous east coast drainage systems, which together approximate the freshwater input of the great Mississippi, with the bountiful Gulf Stream combine to support a rich fishery.

Florida's West Coast Fisheries

The west coast supports as array of fish and crustaceans such as drum, seatrout, snook, flounder, blue and stone crab, pompano, mullet, and shrimp. More than 80 percent of the fish we catch for food or fun depend on estuaries for all or part of their lives.

The west coast of Florida offers some of the finest shallow-water fishing in the world. Beautiful clear flats studded with mangrove shoreline, large expanses of seagrass meadows, oysters bars, and sand bars are the homes and hangouts of some of the best gamefish Florida has to offer.

» More information about Florida fisheries from the Florida Fish & Freshwater Conservation Commission

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