Gulf Stock Characteristics

SEDAR 51, 2017

Natural mortality rate (M): 0.15/year

Female sexual maturity: 50% at 2.3 years or 10 inches (253 mm) FL; 90% at 5.2 years or 14.2 inches (362 mm) FL; no meaningful contribution until 11.8 inches (300 mm) FL

Maximum observed age: 32 years; 28 years used in SEDAR 51

Maximum weight: 48.83 lbs (22.15 kg) whole weight (West Florida/Alabama)

Maximum length: ~35 inches (89 cm) FL

Discard mortality: 6.9% recreational; 14% commercial handline; 66% commercial longline

Current Federal Regulations:


  • Fishing season: Year round
  • Size Limit: Minimum size limit is 12 inches total length
    • Size-limit gray snapper weigh about one pound (0.45 kg), and are about four years old
  • Bag Limit: 10 fish per person, within the 10 Snapper per person aggregate bag limit and the 20 reef fish per person aggregate bag limit


  • Quota:  Combined commercial and recreational ACL of 2,420,000 pounds whole weight
  • Size Limit: Minimum size limit is 12 inches total length
  • Trip Limit: None


Gray snapper, also called mangrove snapper or “mangoes,” are found throughout the Gulf of Mexico. They can vary in coloration, but are generally dark gray and brown on the upper half, with pink and orange coloration on the lower half of the fish. Their tail is broad and slightly forked. Males and females are largely indistinguishable from one another. Two stocks exist in the southeastern US: the Gulf of Mexico stock, and the Atlantic stock. The Gulf stock occupies the Gulf of Mexico east to approximately Biscayne Bay, near the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line in south Florida.

Life History and Distribution:

Gray snapper occur in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate waters from Brazil to Bermuda, and throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Spawning occurs primarily in the summer months, between May and September. Gray snapper spend their first month of life in a larval phase, floating as plankton. As juveniles, gray snapper settle nearshore in estuaries, seagrass beds or shallow reefs, and gradually move offshore as they grow larger. Adults are often reef- or structure-associated (SEDAR 51, 2017).

Landings Summary