Snapper Rules and Regulations

Red SnapperVermilion SnapperGray Snapper

 

Snapper are managed differently in the Gulf versus the Atlantic and in state versus federal waters.

Gulf state waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles.

Atlantic state waters are from shore to 3 nautical miles.

Have you signed up for the Gulf Reef Fish Survey yet? Learn more.

Updates

Federal Regulations

Red snapper Gulf federal season: June 1-9 (closing June 10) for private recreational anglers

June 1-July 16 for federally permitted for-hire vessels

Red snapper Atlantic federal season: Will not open for 2016.Adobe PDF


State Regulations

Red snapper Gulf state season: Open Saturdays and Sundays starting May 7; continuously May 28 through July 10; Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September and October, and on Labor Day. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Gulf of Mexico Regulations

(state and federal waters unless specified)


Snappers

Min. Size Limit

Daily Bag Limit

Open Season

Red

 

16" TL 

 

2 per person

(included in the 10 per harvester per day state snapper aggregate bag limit)

Charter captain and crew: zero 

2016

State waters: Open May 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22; May 28-July 10; Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September and October, and on Labor Day.

Federal waters: 

June 1-9 for private recreational anglers

June 1-July 16 for federally permitted for-hire vessels

Vermilion

 

10" TL

 

  

State: 10 per person (not included in the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit)                 

Federal: 10/person within 20 reef fish aggregate


 Open year-round      

Schoolmaster

Up to 10 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit

Gray (Mangrove)

State: 10" TL

Federal: 12" TL

State: 5 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit 

Federal: 10 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit 

Mutton

16" TL  Up to 10 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit

Cubera

State: 12" TL

May possess no more than 2 over 30" per harvester or vessel per day, whichever is less. 30" or larger cubera are not included within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit       

Federal: 12" TL

Lane

8" TL

State: None 

Federal: 20 under their 20-reef fish aggregate

Other (includes Yellowtail, Queen, Blackfin, Silk, Wenchman)

State: 12" TL           

Federal: 12" TL for Yellowtail only; others have no minimum size

Up to 10 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit

Note: Gear rules require circle hooks and dehooking to be used in Gulf state waters reef fish fisheries. The requirement to use venting tools in state and federal waters was eliminated in 2014. 

 


Atlantic Regulations

(state and federal waters unless specified)

 

Snappers Min. Size Limit Daily Bag Limit Open Season
Red

State: 20" TL

Federal: None

State: 2 per person

Federal: 1 per person

State: Open year-round                               

Federal: Closed

Gray/Mangrove

State: 10" TL

Federal: 12" TL 

State: 5 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit

Federal: 10 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit

 Open year-round
Schoolmaster

State: 10" TL

Federal: None

State: Up to 10 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit                     Federal: None
Mutton 16" TL Up to 10 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit
Cubera

12" TL

May possess no more than 2 over 30" per harvester or vessel per day, whichever is less

30" or larger cubera are not included within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit

Lane  8" TL

10 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit

Vermilion 12" TL 5 per person (not included in the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit)   
Other (Includes Yellowtail, Queen, Blackfin, Silk, Dog, Mahogany)

Up to 10 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit

Note:

Gear rules require dehooking tools to be used in the Atlantic reef fish fishery.

Captain and crew can keep recreational bag limits of all in-season snapper grouper species.

 

 


Gulf Red Snapper

Red snapper are long-lived, early-maturing reef fish that are broadly distributed in the Gulf of Mexico. They can live to be 57. Older, larger females contribute far more eggs than younger, smaller females. To have a sustainable red snapper stock, there should be an abundance of older/larger fish to maximize the number of young fish coming into the fishery.

Red_snapper_comparison_image.jpg

One 24-inch female red snapper (about an 8 year old fish) produces as many eggs as 212 17-inch females (about 5 years old).

Image Credit: Diane Rome Peebles

 

Gulf Red Snapper Research

The FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute is seeking recreational anglers to volunteer to take catch cards on their next offshore fishing trip to record the numbers of red snapper harvested and a tally of red snapper released by size and hook location.


Additional Snapper Resources

Snapper Descriptions and Species Accounts

Gray Snapper Not a Mobile-Enabled Link        Gray Snapper Species Account Not a Mobile-Enabled Link

Lane Snapper Not a Mobile-Enabled Link        Lane Snapper Species Account Not a Mobile-Enabled Link

Red Snapper Not a Mobile-Enabled Link         Red Snapper Species Account Not a Mobile-Enabled Link

Vermilion Snapper Not a Mobile-Enabled Link  Vermilion Snapper Species Account Not a Mobile-Enabled Link

 

 

Links for more information

Reef Fish Gear Rules

State Reef Fish Rule, 68B-14, F.A.C.

Federal Code of Regulations External Website

NOAA Fisheries Service Red Snapper page External Website

NMFS Southeast Regional Office External Website

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council External Website

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council website icon_external.png

Stock Assessments (SEDAR) External Website

 



FWC Facts:
The St. Johns River hosts the southernmost population of spawning American shad in North America.

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