Red Drum is large fish, growing up to 1.5 m (5 ft) in length, found in the western Atlantic, including the Gulf of Mexico, from the central U.S. to northern Mexico. They are long-lived, but become sexually mature at a relatively early age.
Commercial fishing for Red Drum is prohibited in federal and most state waters, with major fisheries only occurring in North Carolina and Mississippi state waters. Many Red Drum are taken by recreational fishermen throughout its range. Commercial and recreational fisheries primarily target juvenile Red Drum, so they are managed using size and catch limits to ensure enough juveniles escape the fishery and survive to reproduce.
The abundance of juvenile Red Drum has increased from low levels in the 1980s/1990s, and is now at a medium level throughout much of its range. The abundance of adult Red Drum is unknown. Most commercially caught Red Drum are captured with bottom gillnets, which cause moderate habitat damage and frequently catch endangered sea turtles. Some Red Drum are also caught with hook and line, which results in minimal habitat damage and likely low bycatch.