Benefits of Red Snapper

The Red Snapper:

The Red Snapper also known as the northern red snapper, is found along the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern costs of North America, Central America and Northern South America. They have enlarged canine teeth, that is why they are called snappers.

These fish prefer to inhabit deep reefs or rocky banks from 30 to 620 ft (9 to 189 m) deep. They feed on a variety of animals like fish, mollusks, crustaceans, worms and planktons. Red Snappers are harvested commercially and frequently caught for sport. Their fish is considered excellent for human consumption. Their harvest is highly regulated to keep their populations from diminishing. Female Red Snappers are able to reproduce as early as age 2. Males and females spawns from May to October, depending on their location. Red Snappers average 24 in (60 cm) long, but they may grow to 40 inches (100 cm) long and weigh 50 pounds (23 kg).

Juveniles prefer to inhabit sand and mud bottoms. Juveniles are caught in great numbers during commercial shrimping operations. Their growth is fairly fast, reaching 8 inches (20 cm) in their first year. They can live a long time. Fish over 50 years old have been recorded, also their habitats change with age during the first year of life.

They favor open bottom in areas where there is a slight amount of low structure. As they get older they tend to move to bigger structure and that is why they are they are so abundant in artificial reef areas over the last several decades. Their population is markedly increased in areas where reefs have been built nevertheless. They are still considered overfished.

Another thing is that Red Snapper have a strong tendency to stay put in some tagging work we have done. They have remained at the same small reef side for up to five years and probably will stay longer. However, hurricanes and tropical storms will displace them. Especially in the shallow part of the continental shelf with the recent intense hurricanes that have struck the northern gulf. Some Red Snappers have moved several hundred miles because of the economic importance of Red Snapper. Management has been an issue of major concern to both federal and state governments. According to the models recovery will take decades because so many juvenile snappers are killed as by catch in the shrimp trawl fishery, this has led to major confrontations between user groups especially the charter and commercial snapper.

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