Hogfish

Hogfish

Lachnolaimus maximus

Managed by:

SAFMC


Physical description:

The hogfish has a long, pig-like snout, and protrusible jaws with thick lips and strong canine teeth. The first three spines of the dorsal fin, as well as the upper and lower tips of the caudal fin, are extended into long filaments. Color is highly variable and changes with size. The scales on the back are often edged in yellow, and a dark spot is at the rear base of the dorsal fin. This spot disappears with age. Males possess a dark oblique band that covers the top portion of the head, extending to the tip of the snout. Juveniles are much lighter in color overall, usually of a pink or gray with white mottling along the sides.


Biological description:

Hogfish is most commonly found throughout the Caribbean, although its entire distribution is from North Carolina to Bermuda and the northern coast of South America. Usually hogfish are found in loose aggregations around hard bottom areas, such as coral reefs, rocky ledges and wrecks. The species is a protogynous hermaphrodite that spawns from September to April off the coast of Florida. The time of spawning in other areas is unknown. The smallest size at which females are capable of reproducing is about 8 inches, although most mature at a larger size. Like most reef fish species, hogfish are opportunistic feeders, eating whatever may be available from clams or urchins that can be crushed with their teeth to slow moving or sessile snails.


South Atlantic Federal Regulations

* New Regulations to be implemented on August 24, 2017 (Snapper Grouper Amendment 37)*

Management Measures Georgia-North Carolina Florida Keys/East Florida
Minimum size limit

(for both commercial and recreational sectors)

17 inches fork length 16 inches fork length
Commercial trip limit 500 pounds whole weight 25 pounds whole weight
Recreational bag limit 2 fish per person per day 1 fish per person per day
Recreational fishing season Open year-round Open - May through October

Closed- January through April; November through December

Commercial:

  • Size Limit:  (CLOSED, effective August 24, 2017 in Florida Keys and East Florida only)
  • Trip Limit: 500 lbs whole weight in Carolinas and GA; 25 lbs whole weight in FL Keys and E FL
  • Regulatory Remarks:
    • All species must be landed with head and fins intact.
    • Gear restrictions apply.
    • 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 degress 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:

  • CLOSED, effective August 24, 2017 in the Florida Keys and East Florida only. 
  • Size Limit: 12-inches fork length
  • Bag Limit: Daily bag limit of 1 fish/person/day off FL Keys and East Florida; 2 fish/person/day in NC, SC, and GA
  • 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.
    • 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: