Fish and Wildlife
Florida's unique combination of semi-tropical climate and wide range of diverse aquatic ecosystems results in one of the most abundant assemblages of freshwater fish species in the United States. More than 250 species of fish can be found in nearly 2.5 million acres of lakes, 12,000 miles of rivers and numerous springs, wetlands, and canals throughout the state.
Besides catching fish, resident and tourist swimmers, snorkelers and divers also enjoy watching fish. In addition to human recreation and food, Florida's fisheries offer survival to a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife. Fish communities contribute to the health of aquatic ecosystems and are an integral component of maintaining a biological balance underwater.
The same can be said about our wildlife. The Sunshine State enjoys one of the most-diverse assemblages of native wildlife in the country. Thousands of species, ranging from the endangered Florida panther, manatee and Everglades snail kite to the majestic great blue heron, depend on the Florida's freshwater habitats.
As the state's population increases and the demand for development grows, freshwater habitats and animals that depend on them are in greater peril each year. That’s why aquatic plant managers strive every day to preserve healthy habitats for native fish, wildlife and plants while also preventing flooding and year-round navigation. The pages in this section provide readers with more information on the important link between fish, wildlife and aquatic plants in Florida.