Fisheries Importance:COMMERCIAL FISHERY: The commercial fishery for mutton snapper is not of particularly high value in east central Florida, averaging less than $11,000 per year. The statewide commercial catch of gray snapper, Lutjanus analis, between the years 1987 - 2001 was 5.5 million pounds, with a dollar value of over $9.6 million. Within this time period however, only 92,189 pounds of mutton snapper was harvested commercially in the 5 county area encompassing the IRL (Volusia, Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin Counties), with a dollar value of just $163,205 reported. This ranks the mutton snapper sixty-fourth in commercial value within the IRL, and seventy-fifth in pounds harvested.Figure 1 below shows the dollar value of the commercial mutton snapper fishery to IRL counties by year. As shown, the commercial catch ranged from a low of $5,647 in 1989 to a high of over $22,251 the next year, 1990. Volusia County accounts for the largest percentage of the gray snapper catch with 37.3% in total (Figure 2), most of which was accounted for by the large catch in 1990. Martin County follows with 23% of the harvest, followed by St. Lucie, Brevard and Indian River Counties, which account for 19.5%, 13.7% and 6.5% of the total respectively. Of note are 2 particularly good harvests in Volusia County occurring in 1990 and 1998 which account for 65% and 61% of the annual catch respectively.RECREATIONAL FISHERY: The information below reflects angler survey information taken from the 5-county area that encompasses the Indian River Lagoon. Approximately 460,226 mutton snapper were harvested in east central Florida from 1997 - 2001. The bulk of the recreational harvest was taken in nearshore waters to 3 miles (43.9%) and in offshore waters to 200 miles (40.0%). Inland waters other than the Indian River Lagoon, and the IRL itself account for only 8.5% and 7.6% respectively.
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