Skip to main content
A man holding a fish

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

2021 Gulf red snapper

  • Florida’s 2021 recreational red snapper season in Gulf state and federal waters was June 4 through July 28.
  • 109% of Florida’s quota (1,951,569 lbs.) was met during the 2021 season.
  • Updated landings:
    • June: 1,284,160 lbs.
    • July: 832,556 lbs.
    • Total: 2,116,716 lbs.
  • The 2022 recreational Gulf recreational red snapper season has not been set.

DESCEND Act measures now in effect:

  • Descending device or venting tool must be rigged and ready to use on trips in Gulf federal waters targeting reef fish

State Reef Fish Survey

All anglers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida who intend to fish for or harvest certain reef fish from a private vessel are required to obtain the State Reef Fish Angler designation.  Learn more. 

New Gear Requirements for Atlantic State and Federal Waters

Anglers using hook-and-line with natural baits to target reef fish like snapper or grouper from a vessel in Atlantic state waters are required to use non-stainless-steel, non-offset circle hooks north of 28 degrees north latitude (near Melbourne) and non-stainless-steel hooks south of 28 degrees north latitude. Learn more.

In Atlantic federal waters, new gear modifications include a new requirement for descending devices and modifications to hook requirements when snapper grouper fishing. Read this Snapper-Grouper fishery in Atlantic federal waters announcement for more.

 

Fishing for snappers?

Make sure signed up for the State 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 - 2021

Recreational anglers fishing from private vessels and charter for-hire's that do not have a federal permit (and can only target reef fish in state waters): June 4-July 28

Federally-permitted charter for-hire season: June 1-Aug. 2 (closed on Aug. 3) and Oct. 15, through Nov. 5, closing Nov. 6.

 

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: Open year-round (FWC Commission will discuss similar measures to the current closure in federal waters at the October meeting). 

Federal: Commercial and recreational harvest of lane snapper in Gulf of Mexico federal waters closed Oct. 18 through Dec. 31, 2021

 

Min. Size Limit

None

Daily Bag Limit

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

Open Season

Black grouper: Open year-round

Blackfin, queen, silk, and wenchman snappers closed in Gulf state waters from Oct. 11- Dec. 31, 2021. These species are also closed in Gulf federal waters. Both will reopen in Gulf state and federal waters Jan. 1, 2022. Learn more.

Min. Size Limit

12" total length

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. In Gulf federal waters, a descending device or venting tool must be rigged and ready to use.

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

Open Season

State: Open year-round                               

Federal: July 9, 10, 11

Min. Size Limit

vermillion snapper

12" TL

Daily Bag Limit

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

Open Season

Open year-round

Min. Size Limit

gray snapper

State: 10" TL

Federal: 12" TL 

Special regulations apply for this species when fishing in Biscayne National Park.

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

Special regulations apply for this species when fishing in Biscayne National Park.

Open Season

Open year-round

Min. Size Limit

schoolmaster

State: 10" TL

Federal: None

Special regulations apply for this species when fishing in Biscayne National Park.

Daily Bag Limit

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

Special regulations apply for this species when fishing in Biscayne National Park.

Open Season

Open year-round

Min. Size Limit

mutton snapper

State: 18" TL

Federal: 18" TL 

Special regulations apply for this species when fishing in Biscayne National Park.

Daily Bag Limit

5 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit 

Special regulations apply for this species when fishing in Biscayne National Park.

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

Special regulations apply for this species when fishing in Biscayne National Park.

Daily Bag Limit

10 per person within the 10 snapper aggregate bag limit

Special regulations apply for this species when fishing in Biscayne National Park.

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

Special regulations apply for yellowtail snapper when fishing in Biscayne National Park.

Daily Bag Limit

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

Special regulations apply for yellowtail snapper when fishing in Biscayne National Park.

Open Season

Open year-round

Note: In the Atlantic reef fish fishery, gear rules require dehooking tools, and as of Jan. 1, 2021, non-stainless steel hooks in all state waters, and non-offset circle hooks N. of 28 ° N. latitude.

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

 

Return ‘Em Right

A resource for anglers interested in best release practices.

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).

Snapper Research