Scientific Name

Mycteroperca phenax

Stock Status

Overfishing – Unknown

Overfished – Unknown

Recreational Regulations

Federal Regulations

  • Open: January 01 – January 31

    Closed: February 01 – March 31

    Open: March 31 – December 31

  • 4 Bag Limit
  • 4 Aggregate Limit
  • Minimum Size: 16 in Total Length
  • Gear Description: Non-stainless steel circle hooks are required when fishing with natural baits. At least one dehooking device is required and must be used to remove hooks.

  • Notes:

    Anglers required to have a venting tool or descending device rigged and ready to use when fishing for reef fish species in Gulf of Mexico federal waters. For more information, see NOAA Descend Act.

Shallow-water Grouper Closure (Map of the 20-fathom break)

Subpart B – Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico – §622.34 Seasonal and area closures designed to protect Gulf reef fish

(d) Seasonal closure of the recreational sector for shallow-water grouper (SWG). The recreational sector for SWG, in or from the Gulf EEZ, is closed each year from February 1 through March 31, in the portion of the Gulf EEZ seaward of rhumb lines connecting, in order, the points in the following table. During the closure, the bag and possession limit for SWG in or from the Gulf EEZ seaward of the following rhumb lines is zero.

Commercial Regulations

Harvest Limits

 Combined stock ACL black grouper, scamp, yellowfin grouper, and yellowmouth grouper – 710,000 pounds
 Combined Commercial ACL for black grouper, scamp, yellowfin grouper, and yellowmouth grouper – 547,000 pounds
 Combined Commercial quota for black grouper, scamp, yellowfin grouper, and yellowmouth grouper – 525,000 pounds

Additional Information


Scamp is a grouper that ranges from North Carolina south to northern South America, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.  Juvenile scamp has been reported, but are rare, as far north as Massachusetts.  Scamp is a grayish brown color with clustered darker spots.  The corners of the mouth may appear yellow.  The pectoral fins have a dark inner margin. The tail fin is concave with the upper and lower fin rays elongated in adult fish, and appears more raggedy when compared to other grouper tails.  Scamp is very similar in shape and color to yellowmouth grouper.1

Maximum observed age:  31 years2, 3

Age at maturity:  ~2 years4, 2

Maximum weight:  31.31 pounds (14.2 kilograms)5

Maximum length:  42.13 inches (107 centimeters)6

Life History and Distribution

Scamp prefers rocky bottoms and ledges.  Juveniles are found around jetties and mangroves.  Spawning season occurs from January to June with peaks in March and April; however, the spawning patterns of scamp, much like other species of grouper, is complex.3 Scamp does transition from female to male.  During spawning, males may defend spawning sites.  There appears to be a special hierarchy during spawning times, and fish will exhibit several color phases during this time.2


  1. SEDAR 68.  2020.  Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Scamp Stock ID Process Final Report.  Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review.  North Charleston, South Carolina.  42pp.
  2. Kobara, S., B. Erisman, W. Heyman, C. Biggs, N. Farmer, S. Lowerre-Barbieri, M. Karnauskas, and J. Brenner. 2017. Cooperative monitoring program for spawning aggregations in the Gulf of Mexico: data portal. Version 1.0 GCOOS, USA.
  3. Lowerre-Barbieri, Susan, Hayden Menendez, Ted Switzer, and Claudia Friess. 2020. Scamp grouper reproduction on the West Florida Shelf. SEDAR68-DW-19. SEDAR, North Charleston, SC. 21 pp
  4. Farmer, N.A., Malinowski, R.P., McGovern, M.F. and Rubec, P.J. (2016), Stock Complexes for Fisheries Management in the Gulf of Mexico. Marine and Coastal Fisheries, 8: 177-201. doi:10.1080/19425120.2015.1024359
  5. IGFA, 2001. Database of IGFA angling records until 2001. IGFA, Fort Lauderdale, USA.
  6. Craig, M.T., YJ. Sadovy de Mitcheson and P.C. Heemstra, 2011. Groupers of the world: a field and market guide. North America: CRC Press/Taylor and Francis Group. 356 p.