Grouper, Snowy – U.S.
Snowy Grouper are found in deep-water rocky habitats, from North Carolina to Brazil including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. They are a long lived, slow growing species that changes sex (from female to male) as they grow, making them extremely vulnerable to fishing pressure.
In the U.S. South Atlantic, the abundance of Snowy Grouper has been low and the population overfished since the late 1980s. There has been some sign of rebuilding in recent years, but fishing levels on this species have not been reduced enough. In the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Snowy Grouper has never been assessed so its abundance is unknown.
Snowy Grouper are caught using handlines and bottom longlines. The fisheries that catch Snowy Grouper target a range of groupers, snappers, and other fish, and result in bycatch of some depleted species. The longline fisheries also accidentally catch some sea turtles and sharks. Fishing occurs over some sensitive habitats, like rocky reefs. While handline fishing causes minimal habitat damage, fishing with bottom longlines may result in moderate damage to these habitats.