The scientific name a of the wellowtail snapper roughly translates to "swift-swimming golden fish". The coloration is characterized by a prominent lateral yellow stripe originating on the snout, widening posteriorly, and covering the caudal fin. The back and upper sides are olive to bluish with yellow irregular spots. The belly and lower sides have narrow longitudinal stripes that are pale red to yellow, and the fins are yellowish.
The yellowtail snapper is distributed from North Carolina to southeastern Brazil, but most abundant in the Bahamas, off south Florida and in the Caribbean. It appears to have the same role in the tropical reef fish community that the vermilion snapper has with reef fish assemblages in the more northerly latitiudes. Both species form schools and are found above the bottom over hard substrates in waters 60-300 feet deep. Spawning takes place from April through August. Most females are sexually mature by age 3, when they are at least 9 inches. The shape of the body and tail and size of the mouth and eye suggest that yellowtail snappers feed differently from most lutjanids. The majority of animals making up the diet are found on the bottom. Most western Atlantic snappers feed predominantly on benthic fish and large invertebrates.
South Atlantic Federal Regulations
(For areas three-200 miles off the coasts of NC, SC, GA, and East Florida)
Note: Commercial Fishery Closed Effective September 11, 2012.
Effective September 8, 2012 the commercial fishery for the Deepwater Complex (yellowedge grouper, blueline tilefish, silk snapper, misty grouper, queen snapper, sand tilefish, black snapper, and blackfin snapper) is closed. Commercial harvest of gray triggerfish also closes on that date. Effective September 11, 2012, the commercial fishery for the Porgy Complex (jolthead, knobbed, saucereye, whitebone and scup)
and for yellowtail snapper is closed. See the Fishery Bulletin for additional details. UPDATE 09/10/12 NOAA Fisheries has determined that the Commercial Yellowtail Snapper Fishery will NOT Close on 9/11/12. See Fishery Bulletin for details.
Limited access permit required.
- 12" TL minimum size limit.
- Bag limit of 10 snappers per person. See updated Recreational Regulations Summary (pdf) on the Regulations by Species homepage.
- Must be landed with head and fins intact.
- Gear restrictions apply.