Gray Snapper

Gray Snapper

Gray Snapper

Lutjanus griseus

AKA:

Mangrove Snapper

Managed by:

SAFMC


Physical description:

The gray snapper differs from other snapper in that it lacks the distinctive black spot on the sides, and it has a rounded, rather than a pointed, anal fin. It is often confused with the cubera snapper because of body shape and presence of large canine teeth. The pattern of teeth in the gray snapper is anchor-shapped, unlike the triangular shape of the cubera snapper. The body coloration of the gray snapper is highly variable. The lower sides and belly are grayish with a reddish tinge, while the back and upper sides are dark gray to gray-green.


Biological description:

The gray snapper commonly occurs in the westen Atlantic from the northern coast of Florida to Rio de Janeiro. Young fish are sometimes found as north as Massechusetts. The habitat is variable and includes irregular bottom area offshore, such as coral reefs, rock ledges, and wrecks, to a depth of about 300 feet. Inshore the species is found over smooth bottom, usually near pilings, seagrass meadows and mangrove thickets. Spawning usually occurs in the summer at the dusk of a full moon, and in shallow waters. Fish that are 3 years old or older and 9 inches or more take part in the spawning. The lifespan of a gray snapper may be up to 21 years and individuals may reach lengths of 35 inches and weight of 25 pounds. Young gray snappers tend to each shrimp and other crustaceans, while adults prefer fishes, crabs, or shrimps, and may feed on grass flats in the late afternoon or at night.


South Atlantic Federal Regulations

Commercial:

  • Size Limit: 12-inches total length
  • Trip Limit: None
  • Regulatory Remarks:
    • All species must be landed with head and fins intact.
    • Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use dehooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species.
    • The use of non-stainless steel circle hooks (offset or non-offset) is required for all species in the snapper grouper complex when using hook-and-line gear with natural baits in waters North of 28 degrees N. latitude.
    • After the commercial quota is met, all purchase and sale is prohibited and harvest and/or possession is limited to the recreational bag limit. This prohibition does not apply to fish harvested, landed, and sold prior to the quota being reached and held in cold storage by a dealer. Quotas are given in gutted weights.
    • Commercial snapper grouper vessels must have onboard NMFS approved sea turtle release gear and follow smalltooth sawfish release protocol. See the Handling and Release Protocol from NOAA Fisheries or call 727-824-5312.
    • Annual Catch Limit (ACL) – This species is managed under an ACL. See current information on Commercial ACLs (quotas) from NOAA Fisheries.
  • Additional Updates:

Recreational:

  • Size Limit: 12-inches total length
  • Bag Limit: Included in Aggregate Snapper Bag Limit of 10 snapper per person/day (excluding vermilion snapper)
  • Regulatory Remarks:
    • Included in Aggregate Snapper Bag Limit of 10 snapper per person/day (excluding red snapper and vermilion snapper) – Note: cubera snapper less than 30-inches total length are included in this limit
    • All species must be landed with head and fins intact.
    • Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use dehooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species.
    • The use of non-stainless steel circle hooks (offset or non-offset) is required for all species in the snapper grouper complex when using hook-and-line gear with natural baits in waters North of 28 degrees N. latitude.
    • The sale of bag-limit caught snapper grouper species is prohibited.
    • Annual Catch Limit (ACL) - This species is managed under an ACL. See current information on Recreational ACLs from NOAA Fisheries.
  • Additional Updates: