Snapper Rules and Regulations

 

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

None


State Regulations

None

 

For Atlantic red snapper, see chart labeled Atlantic Regulations below.

News

2018 Atlantic Red Snapper

(watch a video on the season)

Recreational red snapper season in Atlantic federal waters was open weekends only (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) on the following days:

  • August 10, 11, and 12, 2018 
  • August 17, 18, and 19, 2018

Learn more. External Website

Learn about FWC's snapper research programs and how you can help. 

2018 Gulf Red Snapper Season

This year, Florida and each Gulf state tested pilot programs to set their own recreational red snapper season in their state and adjacent federal waters through an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) that was been issued by NOAA Fisheries. The 2018 season in Florida state and federal waters for private recreational anglers was June 11- July 20. This season also applied to charter vessels who do not have a federal reef fish permit but are limited to fishing in state waters only. Learn more about the 2018 season and EFP.

 


Gulf of Mexico Regulations

(state and federal waters unless specified)


SnappersMin. Size LimitDaily Bag LimitOpen 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 

2018

Recreational state and federal waters (includes for-hire operations without federal reef fish permit but only in state waters):

June 11-July 20

For-hire with federal reef fish permit: 

June 1-July 21

Learn more about this season.

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

10" TL

Up to 10 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit Open year-round

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

Mutton

State: 18" TL

Federal: 16" TL (changing to 18 inches July 23)

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

Federal: Up to 10 per person (changing to 5 on July 23) within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit

Open year-round

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

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

Open year-round

Lane

8" TL

State: Default bag limit of 100 pounds 

Federal: 20 under their 20-reef fish aggregate

Open year-round

Black and Wenchman

None

Up to 10 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit Open year-round

Other (includes Yellowtail, Queen, Blackfin, Silk)

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 Open year-round

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)

 

SnappersMin. Size LimitDaily Bag LimitOpen Season
Red

State: 20" TL

Federal: None

State: 2 per person

Federal: 1 per person

State: Open year-round                               

Federal: Open Aug. 10, 11, and 12 and Aug. 17, 18, and 19, 2018

Learn more External Website

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

Up to 10 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit 
Open year-round
Mutton

State: 18" TL

Federal: 18" TL 

5 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit 

Open year-round

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

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

Open year-round

Lane  8" TL

10 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit

Open year-round

Vermilion 12" TL 5 per person (not included in the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit)    Open year-round
Black and Wenchman None

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

Open year-round

Other (Includes Yellowtail, Queen, Blackfin, Silk, Dog, Mahogany) 12" TL

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

Open year-round

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:
Adult Florida bass usually eat crayfish and other fish, but on rare occasions eat snakes and birds.

Learn More at AskFWC