NEW: At their June meeting, the FWC approved the creation of the Gulf Reef Fish Data Reporting System, a mandatory requirement for private recreational anglers fishing from a boat to harvest, attempt to harvest, or possess red snapper, gag, greater amberjack, lesser amberjack, banded rudderfish, almaco jack, red grouper, black grouper, vermilion snapper, or gray triggerfish in the Gulf of Mexico, excluding Monroe County. This requirement becomes mandatory April 1, 2015.

Reef fish is a term used by fishery managers to describe several species of fish that tend to live and are frequently caught on reefs. Species included within this category include snappers, groupers, amberjack, black sea bass, triggerfish, hogfish, red porgy and golden tilefish. Many of these species are popular in recreational and commercial fisheries and are considered economically important species.Greater Amberjack

Reef Fish Management

Reef fish species are jointly managed by state and federal agencies for the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.

In federal waters of the Atlantic (beyond 3 miles from shore), reef fish species are managed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

In federal waters of the Gulf (beyond 9 miles from shore), reef fish species are managed by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

NOAA Fisheries Service assists in the management and is responsible for implementing the federal regulations.

The FWC manages fisheries in state waters, but has a strong interest in how fish are managed in federal waters and how that management affects Floridians. FWC staff serves on both the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils and coordinates with the Councils to improve fisheries management. The Councils and the FWC often enact consistent regulations in state and federal waters, but sometimes use different approaches to meet management goals. The FWC also partners with the Councils and NOAA Fisheries to collect fishery data, conduct research, assess fish stocks and enforce regulations.




Miscellaneous Reef Fish

Other Reef Fish Issues

FWC Facts:
The bowfin, or mudfish, is a ‘living fossil’ and is the only freshwater fish with a gular bone, a bony plate on the exterior of the lower jaw between the two jawbones.

Learn More at AskFWC