Category Archives: Red Snapper

The red snapper, Lutjanus campechanus, is a fish found in the Gulf of Mexico and the southeastern Atlantic coast of the United States. In Latin American Spanish it is known as huachinango or pargo.

The red snapper commonly inhabits waters from 30 to 200 ft (10 to 60 m), but can be caught as deep as 300 ft (100 m) or more on occasion. They stay relatively close to the bottom, and inhabit rocky bottom, ledges, ridges, and artificial reefs, including offshore oil rigs and shipwrecks.

The red snapper’s body is very similar in shape to other snappers, such as the mangrove snapper, mutton snapper, lane snapper, and dog snapper. All feature a sloped profile, medium-to-large scales, a spiny dorsal fin and a laterally compressed body. Red snappers have short, sharp, needle-like teeth, however they lack the prominent upper canine teeth found on the mutton, dog, and mangrove snappers.

Coloration of the red snapper is light red, with more intense pigment on the back. Juvenile fish can also have a dark spot on their side which fades with age.

Like most other snappers, red snappers are gregarious and will form large schools around wrecks and reefs. These schools are usually made up of fish of very similar size.

Red snapper are a prized food fish and are caught commercially, as well as recreationally. Commercially, they are caught on multi-hook gear with electric reels, as gill netting has been banned in the Gulf of Mexico, from which most of the commercial harvest comes. Snapper constitute a major industry in the Gulf of Mexico, however recent changes in the quota system for commercial Snapper fishermen in the Gulf have made the fish less commercially viable. The red snapper is known as a very tasty fish.

Genetic studies have shown, however, that many fish sold as red snapper in the USA are not actually L. campechanus, but other species in the family. This kind of seafood mislabeling is probably common with species that suffer from heavy overfishing, and whose stocks are depleted to the point that supply cannot keep up with demand.

Juvenile red snapper have been released on artificial reef habitats off the coast of Sarasota, Florida, to conduct investigations into the use of hatchery reared juveniles to supplement native populations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Red snapper will eat almost anything, but prefer small fish and crustaceans. They can be caught on live bait as well as cut bait, and will also take artificial lures, but with less vigor. They are commonly caught up to 10 lb (4.5 kg) and 20 inches (50 cm) in length, however there have been fish taken over 40 lb (18 kg).

A red snapper attains sexual maturity at age 2–5 and an adult snapper can live for more than 50 years. The vibrant red color of these fish comes from high levels of carotenoid pigments, largely astaxanthin, coming from shrimp in their natural diet.

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Red Snapper Lesions

Red Snapper Lesions Al Jones: Red snappers’ lesions a troubling occurrence Nearly six years ago, Hurricane Katrina changed our lives forever along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Last year, it was the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill that dominated the news … Continue reading

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Short Season Red Snapper

Short Season Red Snapper Shortest red snapper season in store for Gulf of Mexico The first of June is opening day of the recreational red snapper season in the Gulf of Mexico. That’s also the day after the Gulf’s recreational … Continue reading

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Red Snapper Season 2011

Red Snapper Season 2011 Red snapper season ready to kick off in the Gulf By FRANK SARGEANT The red snapper season opens Wednesday, but anglers who are not quick on the draw might miss it. The season is slated to … Continue reading

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Red Snapper

Red Snapper Red snapper season winding down Here’s the bad news: The extended recreational red snapper season in the Gulf of Mexico is heading into its final days. The good news: The season has been a success, with solid reports … Continue reading

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