Image credit: Robertson & Van Tassell - Contact
Habitat and Distribution
This species ranges from North Carolina to the southern Caribbean, including the Gulf of Mexico. It is found on reefs, around the sandy margins of reefs, and in seagrass beds.
Spawning season in the Gulf of Mexico
In Florida, this species spawns from November through June with peak spawning occurring from December to April.
Hogfish form small resident aggregations on nearshore and offshore reefs. They are protogynous hermaphrodites with haremic mating systems involving a large dominant male who spawns with a group of 10-15 females that reside and feed within his territory. Spawning occurs in pairs, on a daily basis, in the late afternoon and evening hours. Hogfish are broadcast spawners with external fertilization.
Fishing Patterns in Relation to Spawning
On average, monthly commercial landings during spawning months are less than during non-spawning months. Recreational landings are also lower during spawning months than non-spawning months, but landings increase over the last two months of the spawning season (May - June) and peak in August.
Management of Spawning Aggregations
There are no commercial catch limits for Hogfish in federal or state waters. The recreational fishery is subject to a catch limit of 5 in federal waters. Texas and Alabama do not set a recreational catch limit for Hogfish, but the catch limits are the same as the federal limit of 5 for the other gulf states.There are no commercial or recreational seasonal closures for the fishery. Madison Swanson, Steamboat Lumps and the Edges are closed year round. The minimum size is 12" FL for commercial and recreational.