A Mangrove Snapper is the second most popular saltwater fishing boat in Florida. It was originally posted in Lake Tampa Bay but was moved to Mangrove in 1963 for easier access to the Keys. Mangrove is located off the south coast of Florida, on the east coast of the state. It is a part of the Stokes territory and is bordered by Key West and Holmes Island in the Florida panhandle. The name Mangrove came from a passage that a Venetian ship used as an ocean break in 1690.
In 2021, there were only seven documented catches off the state of Florida, but the number of boats on the water is increasing, which may account for the lack of activity. According to the mangrove snapper limit of fifteen, a boat can catch and kill up to one thousand shrimp each year. That is an average of over one thousand per day.
There are three known species of mangrove snapper. The smallest is the small white one, which is between one and two feet long. The larger ones are red or black and grow to over five feet long. The third, and smallest, is a purple and gray color and grows to just over four feet long. Each species has different eating habits and feeding strategies, so the numbers and total time taken to catch them will vary, and will change based upon those dietary needs.
Of all the Mangroves, the smallest is the white mangrove. This species, which is native to the lakes that surround the mangrove lagoon, originally posted a mangrove snapper limit of one hundred and fifty shrimp per boat. In 2021, it was recorded taking more than one hundred and forty shrimp. The increase was due to a combination of factors. First, during the period that mangrove habitat was being destroyed by mangrove trees, food sources were being reduced.
Second, during the destruction of mangrove habitats for commercial fishing, there were fewer fish for the saltwater snapper to feed from. When red tides came, the fish were attracted to the baitfish and using that as their only source of food for a short time made a red tide occur. The combination of factors caused the mangrove populations to die off in the later part of the twentieth century. At the same time, the red tides also killed off the smaller species of mangrove snapper. There are a mangrove snapper limit of one hundred and twenty-five sailfish per boat, and that number is growing each year.
During the 1990’s, and into the new millennium, there was a return of the mangrove snapper to the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River basins. The development of mangrove habitats along the banks of these bodies of water has also led to the growth of a variety of marine life that have been displaced or removed from their natural habitats. These species include barracuda, wahoo, yellowfin tuna, mahi, and a variety of dugongs. Most of these manatees are protected, but there are some that are being hunted by local sport fishing and commercial fishing vessels. The number of species that can be found in the gulf has also grown. The combination of these factors has led to an increase in the mangrove snapper limit.
This increase in the mangrove snapper population has also created a situation where too many shrimp are being taken by commercial and recreational fishermen. The number of shrimp being taken has actually risen over the past fifteen years due to more shrimp being harvested in the gulf. In 2021, more than twelve million pounds in shrimp were harvested from the gulf. Manatees are often targeted for their prized bait, and when this happens the numbers of manatees are negatively affected.
The mangrove snapper is a very good game fish and it makes for a good sport fish bait as well. It does not matter what season of the year you are fishing; you will always be able to catch the mangrove snapper if you are willing to put in the time and effort. The best times to fish for this fish are from April to December. When these months of the year are the most abundant, you will be able to find the maximum numbers. However, the Gulf Coast is home to many areas with large populations during different seasons and the numbers will fluctuate each year.