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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

2021 Gulf Recreational Red Snapper Season:

  • June 4-July 28: season for recreational anglers fishing from private vessels in Gulf state and federal waters and charter for-hire operations who do not have a federal reef fish permit (can fish in state waters only).
  • If you plan to fish for red snapper in state or federal waters from a private recreational vessel, even if you are exempt from fishing license requirements, you must sign up as a State Reef Fish Angler (annual renewal required) at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.

  • The 2021 recreational red snapper season for federally-permitted charter for-hire operations will be June 1 through Aug. 2 (closed on Aug. 3). Learn more.
  • Learn more about what you can do to help fish experiencing barotrauma

2020 Gulf Red Snapper Landings: 1,488,076 lbs. (79% of Florida quota harvested)

2021 Atlantic federal red snapper season

The recreational red snapper season in Atlantic federal waters (more than 3 nautical miles from shore) will be July 9, 10, and 11, 2021. Learn more.

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 - 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)

 

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: 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.

 

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