South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

Snapper, Red

An American Red Snapper being held up against a ruler on a boat.

Snapper, Red

Lutjanus campechanus
Recreational
All areas are closed for recreational fishing.
Commercial
All areas are closed for commercial fishing.

Color pinkish red over entire body, whitish below; long triangular snout; anal fin sharply pointed; no dark lateral spot; red eye.

Found offshore on the continental shelf. Juveniles occur over sandy or mud bottoms; adults may live more than 20 years, and attain 35 pounds or more; sexual maturity is attained at age 2; spawn from June to October; feeds on crustaceans and fish.

Regulations

An illustration of a Red Snapper.

NC, SC, GA, FL

  • Season is currently closed.
  • Season Closed: July 12, 2021 – July 07, 2022
  • Season Closed: July 10, 2022 – July 13, 2023
  • 1 Bag Limit
  • Additional Licenses Required: Beginning July 1, 2020, anglers intending to land this species in Florida are required to sign up as a Florida State Reef Fish Angler if they fish from a private recreational boat and are 16 years of age and older. To sign up, call 1-888-347-4356.
  • Notes:

    Annually, if NOAA Fisheries determines that a season is allowed, the recreational season for the Red Snapper fishery will open the second Friday in July. The recreational sector will open for harvest on the following 2 days: July 8 and 9, 2022 (Friday and Saturday) – The recreational season opens at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 8, 2022, and closes at 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 10, 2022.

    Fishery Bulletin

    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.

    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.

    Federally Permitted Charter/Headboats must have the following on board:

    • The 2019 version of the NMFS document titled “Careful Release Protocols for Sea Turtle Release with Minimal Injury” (document may be electronic).
    • NMFS sea turtle handling and release guidelines placard
    • Required release and handling gears

    See Snapper Grouper Sea Turtle and Smalltooth Sawfish Release Gear Requirements for more information.

    For more information on management of South Atlantic federal fisheries, please visit SAFMC or NOAA Fisheries.

    For 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.

Amendments in progress

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