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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.

Scroll down for regulations by coast and by species.

News

2020 Gulf Red Snapper Season

The Commission approved draft dates for the 2020 Gulf red snapper season at the December 11 & 12 Commission meeting. The draft dates are June 11-July 24. These dates will come back before the Commission in February for final approval. To learn more, see agenda.

Lane Snapper

Recreational and commercial harvest of lane snapper in Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters closed Dec. 13-31

 

Fishing for snappers in the Gulf?

Make sure signed up for the Gulf Reef Fish Survey

Regulations by Coast

Gulf of Mexico Regulations (state and federal waters unless specified)

Min. Size Limit

red snapper

16" TL

Daily Bag Limit

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

Charter captain and crew: zero

 

Open Season

2020 season in Gulf state and federal waters: Proposed season is June 11-July 24. Season will be brought to Commission in February for final approval.  

2019 season in Gulf state and federal waters: June 11 - July 12 and Oct. 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, and 27 AND Nov. 2 and 3.

2019 season for federally-permitted for-hire vessels: June 1-Aug. 1

Min. Size Limit

vermillion snapper

10" TL

Daily Bag Limit

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

Federal:10/person within 20 reef fish aggregate

Open Season

Open year-round

Min. Size Limit

schoolmaster

10" TL

Daily Bag Limit

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

Open Season

Open year-round

Min. Size Limit

gray snapper

State: 10" TL

Federal: 12" TL

Daily Bag Limit

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

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

Open Season

Open year-round

Min. Size Limit

mutton snapper

State: 18" TL

Federal: 18" TL 

Daily Bag Limit

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

Federal: Up to 5 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit

Open Season

Open year-round

Min. Size Limit

cubera snapper

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

Daily Bag Limit

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

Open Season

Open year-round

Min. Size Limit

lane snapper

8" TL

Daily Bag Limit

State: Default bag limit of 100 pounds 

Federal: 20 under their 20-reef fish aggregate

Open Season

State and Federal waters: Closed Dec. 13-31, 2019

Reopens Jan. 1, 2020

Min. Size Limit

None

Daily Bag Limit

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

Open Season

Open year-round

Min. Size Limit

State: 12" TL           

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

NEW: Minimum size limit will be removed July 1, 2019, in state waters for blackfin, queen and silk snapper. 

Daily Bag Limit

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

Open Season

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)

Min. Size Limit

red snapper

State: 20" TL

Daily Bag Limit

State: 2 per person

Federal: 1 per person

Daily Bag Limit

State: Open year-round                               

Federal: Open July 12-14 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and July 19-20 (Friday and Saturday). Learn more. 

Min. Size Limit

vermillion snapper

12" TL

Daily Bag Limit

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

Closed Season

Open year-round

Min. Size Limit

gray snapper

State: 10" TL

Federal: 12" TL 

Daily Bag Limit

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

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

Open Season

Open year-round

Min. Size Limit

schoolmaster

State: 10" TL

Federal: None

Daily Bag Limit

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

Open Season

Open year-round

Min. Size Limit

mutton snapper

State: 18" TL

Federal: 18" TL 

Daily Bag Limit

5 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit 

Open Season

Open year-round

Min. Size Limit

cubera snapper

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

Daily Bag Limit

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

Open Season

Open year-round

Min. Size Limit

lane snapper

8" TL

Daily Bag Limit

10 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit

Open Season

Open year-round

Min. Size Limit

None

Daily Bag Limit

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

Open Season

Open year-round

Min. Size Limit

12" TL

NEW: Minimum size limit will be removed July 1, 2019, in state waters for blackfin, queen and silk snapper. 

Daily Bag Limit

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

Open Season

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 comparison

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.

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).