South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

Snapper, Gray

Snapper, Gray

Snapper, Gray

Lutjanus griseus, Mangrove Snapper
Recreational
All areas are open for recreational fishing.
Commercial
All areas are open for commercial fishing.

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.

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 Massachusetts. 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.

Regulations

NC, SC, GA, FL

  • Season is currently open.
  • 10 Aggregate Limit
  • 10 Bag Limit
  • Min. Size: 12 in Total Length
  • Notes: A descending device is required on board all vessels fishing for or possessing snapper and grouper species in federal waters of the South Atlantic. The descending device must be readily available for use and attached to at least 16 ounces of weight and at least 60 feet of line. Get more information at Best Fishing Practices Webpage

    Must be landed with head and fins intact.

    If you are bringing fish back to the U.S. from the Bahamas by water, please see Bringing fish back from the Bahamas.

    ———- Federally Permitted Charter/Headboats:

    -If a federally permitted vessel fishing in federal waters catches a species that is closed to harvest in federal waters, the vessel is not allowed to retain that fish.

    -If a federally permitted vessel fishing in state waters catches a species that is closed to harvest in federal waters but open in state waters, the vessel is not allowed to retain that species.

    -If a federally permitted vessel fishing in federal waters catches a species that is closed to harvest in state waters but open to harvest in federal waters, they may retain that fish if they do not stop to fish in state waters when returning to port. All gear must be stowed.

    For more information, see: Gray Snapper Regulations

    To see commercial regulations, download Fish Rules Commercial App for iOS devices or Android devices.

  • Gear Description: Allowable gear includes vertical hook-and-line, including hand line and bandit gear, and spearfishing gear without rebreathers. When fishing for or possessing snapper grouper species in federal waters of the South Atlantic, the following regulations apply: (1) Use of a dehooking tool is required. (2) The use of non-stainless steel hooks is required when using hook-and-line gear with natural baits. In waters North of 28-degrees N. latitude, the use of non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks is required when fishing for snapper grouper species using hook-and-line gear with natural baits. (3) A descending device is required on board all vessels and must be readily available for use (attached to at least 16 ounces of weight and at least 60 feet of line). See below for more details.

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