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REGULATION UPDATE

Recreational harvest for lane snapper in Gulf state waters will close December 2, 2022. FWC has approved this closure to be consistent with the closure in federal waters recently announced by NOAA fisheries to prevent overfishing and exceeding 2022 quota. Recreational harvest will reopen Jan. 1, 2023.

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A man holding a red snapper

Management

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

2022 Gulf Recreational Red Snapper

  • Florida's 2022 recreational red snapper season will open June 17 and run consecutively through July 31.
  • The season will reopen in the fall for the following weekends:
    Oct. 8-9 (Sat. & Sun)
    Oct. 15-16 (Sat. & Sun)
    Oct. 22-23 (Sat. & Sun)
    Nov. 11-13 (Fri., Sat. & Sun - Veterans Day weekend)
    Nov. 25-27 (Fri., Sat. & Sun - Thanksgiving weekend)
  • This season applies to recreational anglers fishing from private vessels in Florida Gulf state and federal waters. For-hire operations that do not have a federal reef fish permit may also participate in the season but are limited to fishing for red snapper in Florida Gulf state waters only.
  • Florida was required to reduced the 2022 quota by 13% to payback 2021 overages. The current 2022 quota is 1,657,163 lbs.

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

2022 Atlantic Federal Recreational Red Snapper

NOAA fisheries announces 2022 Atlantic federal red snapper season will be open July 8 and 9 and closed July 10, 2022. (link to the press release https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USNOAAFISHERIES/bulletins/318ae1d)

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 - 2022

June 17 - July 31
Oct. 8 & 9
Oct. 15 & 16
Oct. 22 & 23
Nov. 11, 12 & 13
Nov. 25, 26 & 27

Season is open to:

  • Recreational anglers fishing from private vessels in Florida Gulf state and federal waters
  • Charter for-hire vessels that do not have a federal permit are limited to harvest during the recreational season in Florida Gulf state waters only

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

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: Open July 8 & 9

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