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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

Additional 2020 Fall Gulf Red Snapper Season dates

The following dates have been added to the Gulf fall red snapper season for private recreational anglers and state for-hire operations: Nov. 21, 22, 27, 28, and 29. During this season, private recreational anglers may harvest red snapper in Gulf state and federal waters. However, state for-hire operations who do not have a federal for-hire reef fish permit are limited to fishing for red snapper in Gulf state waters only. 

2020 Preliminary Gulf Red Snapper Landings (as of 11/16/2020)

  • June Landings: 591,358 lbs.
  • July Landings: 503,202 lbs.
  • Total: 1,094,561 lbs.

% of Florida Quota Harvested: 57.2%

State Reef Fish Survey

The State Reef Fish Survey replaced the Gulf Reef Fish Survey on July 1, 2020. 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. Those with a Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation will meet the statewide requirement until the Gulf designation expires, even if you are fishing on the Atlantic coast. Learn more. 

New Gear Requirements for Atlantic State and Federal Waters

Starting Jan. 1, 2021, anglers using hook-and-line with natural baits to target reef fish like snapper or grouper from a vessel in Atlantic state waters will be 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 - 2020

Fall recreational angler season (Gulf state and federal waters): Oct. 17, 18, 24, 25, 31 and Nov. 1, 21, 22, 27. 28, 29.

State for-hire operations (those who do not have a federal for-hire reef fish permit) (Gulf state waters only): Oct. 17, 18, 24, 25, 31 and Nov. 1, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29.

Summer 2020 seasons

Private recreational anglers (Gulf state and federal waters): June 11- July 25, closing July 26.

State for-hire operations (Gulf state waters only): June 11- July 25, closing July 26

Federal for-hire operations (Gulf federal waters) : 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: 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" 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. 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

Open Season

State: Open year-round                               

Federal: 2021 season to be determined

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.

 

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