Commercial fishing in the lakes and rivers and along the seacoasts is limited. In 2000, the total catch amounted to 28,008 tons, over 96% of which came from marine waters. About 80% of the marine catch comes from the Atlantic coast. Shrimp and lobster catches in 2000 amounted to 4,431 and 6,327 tons, respectively. Exports of shrimp and lobster expanded after the 1960s and by 1980 had reached an export value of $25.9 million. In 2000, exports of fish products nearly reached $127.8 million. Commercial fishing is now trying to diversify its catch to include more red snapper, grouper, and flounder.
After the Sandinistas took over, the fishing industry was nationalized. After an agreement made in 1982, the former USSR expanded the fishing port at San Juan del Sur to service its tuna fleet. In late 1991, the government privatized the Atlantic seafood packaging plants, causing seafood production to rise by 19.8% in 1992.