Every summer, thousands of anglers hit the coast to fill their coolers with tasty fillets. You can find them on fish counters and restaurant menus all around the country.
This article breaks down Snapper vs. Grouper by looks, size, taste, and more to try and answer that question. Grouper and Snapper are both big families, with a variety of weird and wonderful fish in them.
Groupers have big, wide mouths, built for inhaling fish whole. Groupers are generally rounder and more thickly built than Snappers.
Cuber Snapper have big, wide mouths, just like Groupers. If you’re not sure what you’ve caught, it’s best to check it against common species in your area.
These titans can top 1,000 pounds, and even “small” adults are in the triple digits. These mean-tempered monsters can top 4 feet long and weigh well over 100 pounds.
After Cuber, the next biggest species is world-famous RedS napper, which maxes out at around 40–50 pounds. Goliath Grouper aside, there are several species which blow the biggest Snappers right out of the water.
The world record for Warsaw Grouper is a staggering 436 pounds 12 ounces. Speckled Hind, Gag, and Snowy Grouper all outgrow RedS napper.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room: RedS napper, aka America’s favorite fish. Every summer, anglers flock to the Gulf of Mexico in their thousands to bag one.
RedS napper have a delicate, juicy meat that very few fish can compete with. Scamp produces large fillets of sweet, white flesh that many people swear is even tastier than RedS napper.
Scamp live much deeper than their rivals, and are usually caught 200 feet down or more. Whether you’re reeling in Yellowtail Snapper on a shallow reef or hauling up Yellow mouth Grouper offshore, you’re in for a lot of fun and a tasty treat to show for it.
The red snapper is named for the way it suddenly and forcibly opens and shuts its jaws when dying. But they will settle for crabs, squid, worms, mollusks, and algae.
They usually remain near the coast during the summer and move offshore as fall arrives. Unfortunately, this creature is one of about 300 species that can cause a painful type of food poisoning, called ciguatera.
Scientists think ciguatera is caused when the red snapper eats a type of poisonous blue-green algae. Experts still don’t know when or where a rare outbreak of ciguatera will strike.
Grouper, any of the large family of fish also commonly known as sea bass. Although the approximately 400 species of groupers vary greatly, most have several features in common.
The pelvic fins, which have a spine and five soft rays, are well forward on the belly. Adult groupers vary from a few inches in length and several ounces in weight to gigantic proportions.
The largest species is probably the Queensland grouper (Promiscuous lanceolatus) of Australia; the biggest on record was 12 feet (3.5 meters) long and weighed 1,000 pounds (454 kg). Larger groupers tend to be drab; smaller ones are often brightly colored and patterned.
Below target level in the Gulf of Mexico and fishing rate promotes population growth. Fishing gear used to harvest red snapper has minimal impacts on habitat.
Regulations require modified fishing gear to reduce by catch. Release techniques improve the chance of survival of unintentionally caught fish.
Regulations are in place to ensure that the combined commercial and recreational catches are low enough to prevent overfishing. Spawning biomass has generally been increasing since the mid-1990s, but continues to be well below the target level (currently at 22 percent).
It will take time for older, more fertile fish to rebuild; however, the numbers of red snapper predicted by the assessment are the highest on record since the 1970s. They have a long triangular face with the upper part sloping more strongly than the lower.
Red snapper grow at a moderate rate, and may reach 40 inches long and 50 pounds. Red snapper feed on fish, shrimp, crab, worms, cephalopods (octopus or squid), and some plankton (tiny floating plants and animals).
Young red snapper are food for the large carnivorous fish that share their habitat, such as jacks, groupers, sharks, barracudas, and morays. A minimum size limit protects the spawning stock and juveniles.
For more information, visit NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office’s Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Management website.