Gulf Stock Characteristics

SEDAR 37, 2014

Natural mortality rate (M): 0.179/year (max age of 25 years)

Reproductive maturity: 50% are sexually mature

  • Females: ~172 mm (6.8 in) fork length (FL); 1.25 years
  • Males: ~426 mm (16.8 in) FL; 6.5 years

Maximum age: 23 years

Maximum weight: ~11 kg (24.3 lbs) whole weight

Maximum length: ~91 cm (35.8 in) FL

Discard mortality: 10% hook-and-line; 100% spear

Current Federal Regulations:


  • Fishing season: Year round
  • Size Limit: Minimum size limit is 14 inches fork length
    • Size limit fish weigh about 2.2 pounds (1 kg) and are about 4 years old
  • Bag Limit: 5 per person within the 20 reef fish per person aggregate bag limit


  • Quota:  Combined commercial and recreational ACL of 129,500 pounds whole weight
  • Size Limit: Minimum size limit is 14 inches fork length
  • Trip Limit: None

Hogfish Boundary Map

Note: Hogfish – the Gulf stock is defined as the waters north of the line extending west from Cape Sable, Florida (29° 09’ N). South of that demarcation is considered within the South Atlantic jurisdiction and is subject to South Atlantic regulations. Visit


Hogfish, or sometimes “hog snapper,” are actually a member of the wrasse family (Labridae).  They boast bright orange, yellow, and blueish-purple colorations.  Hogfish get their name from their elongated snout, which they use to root for crustaceans buried in the sediment.  Their tail is moon-shaped. Males have a characteristic black spot behind their pectoral fins.  Three stocks of hogfish are found in the southeastern US:  the Gulf of Mexico stock, the Florida Keys/East Florida stock, and the Georgia to North Carolina stock.  The Gulf stock occupies the west Florida continental shelf south to about Cape Sable (SEDAR 37, 2014).

Life History and Distribution:

Hogfish occur in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate waters from Brazil north to Bermuda, and throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.  Hogfish are protogynous hermaphrodites, beginning life as females and begin changing sex to male at ~14 inches FL.  All fish older than 10 years are thought to be male and sex changes are socially mediated.  After a planktonic larval phase (~35 days), juveniles settle nearshore in estuaries, seagrass beds or shallow reefs, and gradually move offshore with growth.  Adults are often reef-associated (SEDAR 37, 2014).

Landings Summary