Common snook are a euryhaline, diadromous, estuarine-dependent species occurring in
the tropics and subtropics of the western Atlantic Ocean. Snook are limited in distribution by
the seasonal occurrence of the 15 °C seawater isotherm. Partial genetic isolation occurs
between Florida’s Atlantic and gulf coast stocks (Tringali and Bert 1996). Snook are
protandric hermaphrodites: some males develop into females when between 1 and 7
years of age. Females smaller than about 500 mm fork length are uncommon. Snook
growth rates are highly variable. Females are generally larger than males of the same age.
Atlantic coast fish grow more quickly and to a larger size than do fish on the gulf coast
(Table 1; Taylor et al. 2000). Maximum age is just over 20 years. Spawning occurs every 1
to 3 days from April through October within passes in estuarine and nearshore waters
(Taylor et al. 1998). Early-juvenile snook occupy moderately sloping banks found under
overhanging vegetation within estuarine waters (Peters et al. 1998). As juveniles grow they
occur in a wide range of estuarine habitats.
Larval snook feed primarily on copepod eggs and larvae, other invertebrates’ eggs, algae,
and plant tissues (Harrington and Harrington 1961). Juvenile snook are reported to feed on
bay anchovy, pinfish, mosquitofish, grass shrimp, killifishes, and insects (Harrington and
Harrington 1961; Springer and Woodburn 1960; Gilmore et al. 1983). Adults feed mostly on
fish, crabs, shrimp, and some plant tissues (Fore and Schmidt 1973). Reported important
fish species consumed by snook are menhaden, mojarras, mullet, pinfish, anchovies,
pigfish, and sailfin mollies.
Common snook is a game fish in Florida, so there are only recreational landings In 2006,
anglers landed a total of 37,727 fish statewide. Fifty-six percent of snook landed in 2006
were landed on the gulf coast. In 2006, most snook landings on the gulf coast were made
between Levy and Collier Counties; on the Atlantic coast between Miami-Dade and St.
Lucie Counties (Fig. 1).
The 2006 total landings (by number) of snook were 29% lower than the average landings in
the previous five years (2001-2005) and were 19% lower than the 1982–2006 historical
average landings (Fig.3).
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|Status and Trends 2007 Report
Florida’s Inshore and Nearshore Species
by Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
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