Yellowtail snapper is one of the most popular game fishes caught and consumed by many recreational fishing enthusiasts across the world. It is also a popular food item amongst many South Florida. Yellowtail snapper can grow up to 15 inches in length. Because of its oversized size, this fish is commonly found in coastal areas from Florida to Maine. Due to its delicious taste and economic factors, yellow tail snapper is often prized by millions of South Florida.
The common name for this fish in the Atlantic region is Chrysurus. The scientific name is Chrysa Echinata. The fish is known from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. The Atlantic species tend to be more popular than the one that lives in the Pacific Ocean.
Commonly called “sea snapper” or “herring snapper”, it is native to the waters surrounding the Caribbean Sea. Paired with other hammerhead and black tips, this species is naturally brownish grey or grayish with a head full of white feathers. It has yellowish gill covers, which allow it to breathe through its gills. Although not a true predatory fish, this is a good catch for those who love to eat seafood. Paired with crab, scallops and oysters, it makes a healthy meal.
Yellowtail snapper is a popular sport fishing lure in the Chesapeake Bay area in the Eastern U.S. It was named after a local yellowtail shark known as Chrysurus atlantica. This species of shark prefers light and clear water so that the prey is not easily spotted. A great place to catch this fish is off Point Lookout in Chincoteague Island’s harbor, on or near the shoreline.
The best time of year to capitalize on yellowtail snapper is from April to June when they are spawning. During this time their foraging patterns improve as they feed near the surface of the water. Their metabolism is also increased during this period of the year, enabling them to venture further into deeper water. In June and July, they move up the Eastern seaboard. The Eastern U.S. coast-based yellowtail snapper management measures are based on a biological principle of self-population and survival of a population that has experienced a loss of habitat.
Offshore, the waters are usually warm enough to support coral reefs and an array of marine life including fish, crustaceans, eels and squids. For decades, large numbers of pelagic animals such as fish, crabs and shrimp have fished along the shores of what was then an offshore barrier reef system. The United States, Great Britain, Australia and Ireland were among the last countries to discover and recognize the importance of the yellowtail snapper.
Yellowtail snappers are protected by U.S. law and should be seen near or on shores of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Although the numbers have rebounded in recent years, they are still vulnerable to overfishing. A stock assessment conducted in 2021 showed that there were just four productive yellowtail snapper reefs left in the Gulf of Mexico and none existed in the Eastern Atlantic region. These stocks are considered a risk and are being protected by endangered species laws.
Overfishing has led to the decline of other species including the barracuda, sailfish, spotted scuba, wahoo, skipjack tuna and trevally. Many marine scientists agree that overfishing is one of the main causes of loss of sea life in the Caribbean. Over the past decade, the number of sailfish harvests has been cut in half resulting in the depletion of the local fish population. In response, many species of catfish, bass, tilefish, grouper, snook and scallops have also been harvested in great numbers. Since the overfishing has led to a reduction in reproductive ability and population of yellowtail snapper, experts believe that it is imperative that the fish population is closely monitored and protected.