Hogfish Regulations

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

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

 

Note: Florida Keys/East Coast of Florida Hogfish are managed by the South Atlantic Council through to just South of Cape Sable. See map for details:

 

Commercial:

    • Limited access permit required
    • East Coast of Florida/Florida Keys Stock (from the FL/GA border through 25O 09’ North Latitude due west of Cape Sable, FL):
        • OPEN
        • Minimum Size limit: 16 inches FL
        • Trip limit: 25 lb whole weight
    • Georgia through North Carolina:
        • OPEN
        • Minimum Size Limit:  17 inches FL.
        • Trip Limit: 500 lbs whole weight
    • 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 degress N. latitude.
      • After the commercial annual catch limit is met, all purchase and sale is prohibited and harvest and/or possession is limited to the recreational bag limit (while recreational harvest is open. In Florida, the recreational season is May through October). This prohibition does not apply to fish harvested, landed, and sold prior to the annual catch limit being reached and held in cold storage by a dealer.
      • Charter/Headboat and Commercial snapper grouper vessels must have onboard NMFS approved sea turtle release gear and follow smalltooth sawfish release protocol. Click here to learn more or call 727-824-5312.
      • Annual Catch Limit (ACL) – This species is managed under separate ACLs for the East Florida/Florida Keys stock and the GA-NC stock. See current information on Commercial ACLs (quotas) from NOAA Fisheries.
      • Allowable Gear:
        • Vertical hook-and-line including hand-held hook-and-line and bandit gear. Spearfishing gear without rebreathers.
        • Powerheads, except where expressly prohibited in Special Management Zones (SMZs) and in the EEZ off South Carolina.

 

Recreational:

  • CLOSED East Coast of Florida/FL Keys. Reopens May 1, 2020.
  • OPEN GA through NC.
  • Note: In reference to Hogfish, the recreational bag limit and season in Florida extends around the Keys to 25°09′ N. lat. off the Florida WEST coast.
  • Minimum Size Limit: 16-inches fork length for FL, 17-inches fork length for NC, SC, GA.
  • 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
  • Season (East Coast of FL/FL Keys only):
    • Open - May through October
    • Closed- January through April; November through December
  • 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.
    • Charter/Headboat and Commercial snapper grouper vessels must have onboard NMFS approved sea turtle release gear and follow smalltooth sawfish release protocol. Click here to learn more or call 727-824-5312.
    • Annual Catch Limit (ACL) - This species is managed under an ACL. See current information on Recreational ACLs from NOAA Fisheries.