Florida Snapper Fishing Laws
ALERT: New Snapper Fishing Laws in Effect
Effective July 1, 2020. Anglers taking reef fish like Snapper on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from a private fishing vessel (boat) are required to register with the FWC for the “State Reef Fish Angler” designation.
The State Reef Fish Survey replaced the Gulf Reef Fish Survey on July 1, 2020. All anglers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida who intend to fish for or harvest certain reef fish from a private vessel are required to obtain the State Reef Fish Angler designation.
Effective Jan 1, 2021. New Reef Fish (includes Snapper) Gear Requirements for Atlantic State and Federal Waters
Florida Atlantic Coast (from 28° N latitude (around Melbourne)). Anglers fishing with rod/reel hook/line with natural (living or once living) bait to target reef fish like Snapper from a boat in Atlantic state waters MUST USE NON-STAINLESS STEEL CIRCLE HOOKS which are NOT OFFSET.
Anglers fishing with rod/reel hook/line with natural bait to target reef fish SOUTH OF 28°N must use non-stainless steel hooks. (Offset Circle hooks not specified).
Unregulated Species of Snapper
Most Snapper (except Reds) are classified as unregulated species. That only means there is season for harvesting these species of fish. However, you may only keep up to 100 lbs. of unregulated snaps per day, or 2 fish if their combined weight is over 100 lbs. Their combined weight cannot be more than 150 lbs.
Snapper fishing in Florida waters is just like fishing for other fish, there is no special permit required, but there is the need to register for the State Fish Reef Survey program if you plan on taking or fishing for them from a boat.
Legal Gear for Harvesting Snapper Fish
Legal gear for harvesting (keeping) them includes hook and line, spears, gigs, haul seines and casting nets. It is illegal to take this species of fish using chemicals, explosives, electricity (shocking), bang sticks, or in fish traps, or in any other manner not specified in the preceding sentence.
East Coast (Atlantic) Laws
Red Snapper season is open year round on the Atlantic side of Florida State. In the Gulf – no.
In Atlantic federal waters there are also new restrictions for Snapper/Grouper fishing. Go here to see details.
Get the Fishing App
If fishing from 3 to 200 nautical miles off the coast of Florida, Georgia, South or North Carolina, you can use this mobile application to stay up to date on the fishing rules on the Atlantic Coast.