About The Species U.S. wild-caught vermilion snapper is a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations. Population Level Near target population level and fishing rate promotes population growth in the South Atlantic. Above target level in the Gulf of Mexico. The population level is unknown in the Caribbean. Fishing Status At recommended levels. Habitat Impact Most vermilion snapper are caught using hook-and-line gear, which has minimal impact on habitat. Bycatch Regulations are in place to minimize bycatch. Status According to the 2012 stock assessment, the vermilion snapper stock in the South Atlantic is not overfished and is not subject to overfishing. According to the 2016 stock assessment, the vermilion snapper stock in the Gulf of Mexico is not overfished and is not subject to overfishing. Scientists have not assessed vermilion snapper in the U.S. Caribbean, so the population status is unknown. Caribbean snappers are not subject to overfishing based on 2012 catch data. Appearance Vermilion snapper have streamlined bodies. They are pale to silvery white below and vermilion (orange-red) above. They have narrow, yellow-gold streaks (some horizontal and others diagonal) below the lateral line. Their back (dorsal) fin is rose-colored with a yellow edge, and the tail (caudal) fin is red with a faint black edge. Behavior and Diet Vermilion snapper grow slowly, up to 2 feet long and 7 pounds. They can live to at least 15 years. Vermilion snapper are able to reproduce when they’re young, between 1 and 2 years old. They spawn multiple times from April to September, but most often from June to August. Vermilion snapper eat fish, shrimp, crabs, worms, and other bottom-dwelling invertebrates, as well as squids and plankton (tiny floating plants and animals). Location Description Vermilion snapper are found in the Atlantic Ocean from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, to southeastern Brazil and in the Gulf of Mexico. Management NOAA Fisheries and the South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Fishery Management Councils manage the vermilion snapper fishery. In the South Atlantic, managed under the Snapper-Grouper Fishery Management Plan: Commercial fishermen must have a permit to harvest vermilion snapper. The number of available permits is limited to control fishing pressure on vermilion snapper. Annual catch limits divided between the commercial and recreational sectors. The commercial quota is divided into two 6-month fishing seasons. Seasons can close early if quotas are reached. Trip limits for commercial vessels. Minimum size limit to allow fish time to mature and spawn. Areas closed to fishing to protect a portion of the vermillion snapper population and their habitat. Gear restrictions prohibit the use of trawls, traps, and longlines (in some areas) to reduce bycatch. In the Gulf of Mexico, managed under the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan: Commercial fishermen must have a permit to harvest vermilion snapper. Annual catch limit combined for the commercial and recreational fishery. Seasons can close early if quotas are projected to be reached. Minimum size limit to allow fish time to mature and spawn. Gear requirements and restrictions to reduce bycatch. Areas closed to fishing to protect sensitive fish populations and habitats. In the U.S. Caribbean, managed under the Shallow Water Reef Fish Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Fishery Management Plan: Managed as part of a complex with several other snapper species; this group is referred to as Caribbean snappers. Annual catch limits for Caribbean snappers are in place to prevent overfishing. Fishing with pots, traps, bottom longlines, gillnets, or trammel nets is prohibited year-round in certain areas to reduce fishing impacts. Seasonal fishing closure to protect vermilion snapper during spawning.