Snapper

Snapper

Red snapper

At a glance

Eco-rating Mercury Omega-3s
+-Vermilion snapper
OK
Moderate

MORE ABOUT VERMILION SNAPPER

The brilliantly colored vermilion snapper lives in large schools, particularly when young. It grows to 2 feet, or 61 cm.

Commercial Sources

Vermilion snapper are found in the western Atlantic, from North Carolina to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Capture Methods

Vermilion snapper come from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught with handlines. Additional types of fishing gear include longlines, traps and trawls.

+-Yellowtail snapper
OK
Moderate

MORE ABOUT YELLOWTAIL SNAPPER

The yellowtail snapper is a bright yellow with blue-violet sides, which makes it an attractive aquarium fish, as well as a commercial and sport-fishing species. It can reach a maximum of 2.5 feet, or 76 cm. Yellowtail snappers often form schools in subtropical waters and have been raised in captivity.

Yellowtail snapper is thought to be more abundant than its better-known cousin, the red snapper. But no formal assessment of its population status has been undertaken; whether it is overfished is unknown.

Commercial Sources

Yellowtail snapper are found in the western Atlantic, from Massachusetts to southern Brazil. They are common in the Caribbean.

The main sources of yellowtail snapper are Brazil and Mexico.

Capture Methods

Yellowtail snapper come from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught with beach seines. Additional types of fishing gear include hooks-and-lines, traps and gillnets.

+-Lane snapper
OK
Elevated

More about Lane snapper

Lane snapper is found off the coast of North Carolina to Southeastern Brazil, including the Bahamas, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. In their youth, they spend time inshore, on grass beds and shallow reefs. As adults.

Commercial Sources

Lane snapper is found from off the coast of North Carolina to Southeastern Brazil, including in the Bahamas, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

Capture Methods

Lane snapper come from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught with hooks-and-lines, traps and gillnets. Additional types of fishing gear include trawls and spears.

Lane snapper is thought to be more abundant than its better-known cousin, the red snapper. But no formal assessment of its population status has been undertaken; whether it is overfished is unknown.

+-Mutton snapper
OK
Elevated

MORE ABOUT MUTTON SNAPPER

The mutton snapper's black eyespot on its upper back helps foil predators into attacking in the wrong place. Mutton snappers grow to 2.5 feet (76 cm) and can live to 14 years. They are overfished in many areas and are often marketed as red snapper.

Commercial Sources

Mutton snapper are found in the western Atlantic, from Massachusetts to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

Capture Methods

Mutton snapper come from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught with hooks-and-lines, traps and gillnets. Additional types of fishing gear include trawls and spears.

Mutton snapper is thought to be more abundant than its better-known cousin, the red snapper. But no formal assessment of its population status has been undertaken; whether it is overfished is unknown.

+-Red snapper (Gulf of Mexico)
OK
Moderate

More about Red Snapper

Red snapper is popular in both the commercial and recreational fisheries of the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Juvenile red snapper are also caught in large numbers as bycatch by shrimp trawlers, which in the U.S. must now install devices in their nets to reduce snapper bycatch. This bright pink-red fish grows up to 3 feet (0.9 meter).

Commercial Sources

Red snapper are found in the western Atlantic, from New England to South America. Their highest abundance is in the western Gulf of Mexico, near Texas.

The main sources of red snapper on the seafood market are the United States and Mexico.

Capture Methods

Red snapper come from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught by fishermen using vertical lines with several baited hooks, and to a lesser extent, bottom longlines.

Gulf of Mexico red snapper has been caught under an innovative catch share management plan since 2007. Populations have increased significantly, while fishermen have also reduced discards by 50%. As a direct result, Gulf commercial red snapper fishermen have seen a 60% increase in their quotas since the program began.

+-Imported snapper
Worst
Moderate

More about Imported snapper

Much of the snapper imported into the U.S. comes from Brazil and Mexico, where management of these fish is poor. Several snapper species are extremely depleted, or their status is unknown.

Limited information on snapper from other countries suggests that snapper may also be overfished in many other regions of the world.

+-Silk snapper
Worst
Moderate

MORE ABOUT SILK SNAPPER

The silk snapper is a beautiful melange of warm colors, shading from pink to red, with yellow stripes and reddish or yellow fins. It lives in deep waters and grows to a maximum of 2.5 feet, or 76 cm. It may contain ciguatoxin, which causes illness.

Commercial Sources

Silk snapper are found in the western Atlantic, from North Carolina to Brazil. However, they are most abundant in the Caribbean.

Capture Methods

Silk snapper com from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught with handlines. Additional types of fishing gear include traps.

Recommended servings per month

Contaminant Men Women Kids 6-12 Kids 0-5
Vermilion snapper Mercury 4+ 4+ 3 2
Yellowtail snapper Mercury 4+ 4+ 4 3
Imported snapper Mercury 4+ 4+ 3 2
Lane snapper Mercury 3 4+ 2 1
Red snapper (Gulf of Mexico) Mercury 4+ 4+ 3 2
Silk snapper Mercury 4+ 4+ 3 2
Mutton snapper Mercury 3 3 2 1
Eco details: 
  • Management of snapper in most of the world is poor, and has resulted in overfishing of many populations
  • Gulf of Mexico red snapper has been caught under an innovative catch share management plan since 2007. Populations have increased significantly, while fishermen have also reduced discards by 50%. As a direct result, Gulf commercial red snapper fishermen have seen a 60% increase in their quotas since the program began.