Snapper, Hog – Traps & Spears
Hog Snapper are found in tropical and subtropical reefs in the western Atlantic and Caribbean Sea. They are particularly vulnerable to fishing pressure because they are slow growers, relatively long-lived, and change sex from females to males as they age.
Commercial fishing for Hog Snapper occurs off Florida, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other Caribbean nations. Hog Snapper populations in southern Florida are severely overfished, while those off western Florida may be healthier. In other areas throughout their distribution, significant declines in Hog Snapper populations have been observed. Hog Snapper are managed under general reef fish management plans by several federal and state organizations; typical management measures include minimum size limits, gear restrictions, and marine protected areas.
Spears and traps are two of the primary gears used to target Hog Snapper. Spears result in minimal habitat damage or bycatch, but traps are likely to cause moderate habitat damage and produce some bycatch.
In recipes that call for Snapper, try US farmed Barramundi. It is a clean-flavored sweet flesh fish that is nearly identical to Snapper in texture. Barramundi farmed in the U.S. is widely available and a good price for the quality of fish that it is. It works equally as well as a whole roasted preparation as it does cooked as fillets. It’s great in ceviches as well.