Snapper, Gray (Mangrove) – U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, Handline
Gray or Mangrove Snapper is a medium-size snapper found in the Western Atlantic from Massachusetts to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico. Adults are typically found offshore, associated with reef structure and hard bottoms. Three genetically distinct Gray Snapper populations exist in U.S. waters: the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, north central/northeastern Gulf, and the Atlantic Coast. Abundance and fishing mortality are unknown for all populations, though some reports suggest fishing pressure is high in southern Florida.
Fishermen primarily catch Gray Snapper with handlines but also by diver/spear fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Several overfished and recovering species of concern are targeted and caught with Gray Snapper in the handline fisheries. These include red snapper, red porgy, and red grouper. Endangered goliath grouper is also a potential bycatch species in the handline fisheries.
Gray Snapper and other species caught in the handline fisheries are managed through annual catch limits and minimum size limits. Handlines have very low to no contact with the bottom environment, and the overall effect of these fisheries on the ecosystem is expected to be low.