Red Snapper

Lutjanus spp

Common Name(s)

English: Mangrove Red Snapper, Creek Red Bream, Dog Bream, Gray Snapper, Mangrove Jack, Mangrove Snapper ; French: Carpe, Rouget, Sarde, Vivaneau des Mangroves ; Spanish: Pargo Amarillo, Pargo Dientón, Pargo Rabo Amarillo, Pargo de Manglar, Pargo de Mangle

Insufficient Information

Insufficient information to assess risk


At least one of the environmental risk criteria has been scored high risk, and this is having a significant impact on the sustainability of the operation.

Traditional Chinese

笛鯛 “Dek Dill"




Cá Hồng bạc


Jenahak temerah, Ikan merah




Bale tjela

Simplified Chinese



Click Here

Date of Assessments

August 2020

Peer Reviewer

Dr Jose Domingos, James Cook University, Singapore

Assessment Organisation

RS Standards




  • Depending on language and location, the name Red Snapper applies to a number of fish species across the globe within the Lutjanidae family, and refers to those snappers that exhibit a red coloration as adults, potentially including the following species Lutjanus campechanus, L. argentimaculatus, L. purpureus, L. buccanella, L. bohar, erhrytropterus, and L. malabaricus.
  • The vast majority of the world’s snapper production comes from capture fisheries, with Asia contributing most of the global supply (69%).
  • Red snapper is recognized as a promising fish for aquaculture, including both species Lutjanus argentimaculatus (in southeast Asia) and Lutjanus campechanus (in North America).
  • Significant research on closing the hatchery production loop for Lutjanus campechanus has been underway for decades in the United States, but large-scale production has yet to be achieved.
  • Lutjanus argentimaculatus is currently cultured in Southeast Asia, utilizing a mix of hatchery spawned juveniles and wild caught juveniles raised in grow-out ponds. Much of this snapper aquaculture production is on a small scale for subsistence, with some larger companies growing snapper in marine net pens for regional or export markets. Although the industry is growing, “Approximately 97% of the aggregate supply was derived from capture fisheries, whereas only 3% came from aquaculture,” (Cawthorn and Mariani, 2017).
  • According to recent FAO data, only two countries are presently engaged in snapper aquaculture: Malaysia and the Philippines. While Mexico had some production in the early 2000s, there has been no recorded output since 2010.
  • It is known that Hong Kong and Singapore have some red snapper aquaculture as well, although the production volume is unclear.
  • Distinguishing among snapper species is challenging considering the variety of appearances between juveniles and adults, the number of species in the family Lutjanus, and the similar morphologies between different species.
  • Fishermen often have trouble correctly identifying a snapper species, so the majority of records and trade data are not species specific. Moreover, those snapper farms that do have websites simply refer to their fish as snapper or red snapper, without specifying species name.

Net pens / cages, marine fish

The design of the cage may be circular or square, and sophistication ranges from homemade floating bamboo cages to commercially produced cages with high quality materials. Broodstock are often held in land-based tanks alongside nursery operations. Once the nursery stage is complete, fingerlings are transferred to the net cages where they are grown to market size. Feeding is conducted daily, and size grading occurs once a month to reduce the risk of cannibalism. Net cages should be moved every 2-3 years to prevent negative impacts to the bottom habitat below. The floating cages are often homemade with locally available and inexpensive materials. Many marine fish species are commonly raised this way.

  • The latin species name
  • Evidence of the country of origin, name and location of the farm
  • Evidence that the farm is compliant with national regulations
  • Evidence that production is controlled in a way that minimises impact on the wider marine environment (i.e. there is local planning, water quality testing etc.)
  • Evidence of where the seed originates
  • Evidence that the seed used on the farm has come from sustainable sources
  • Evidence of where the feed originates
  • Evidence that the feed used on the farm has come from sustainable sources
  • Evidence that the farm does not use any banned medicines / chemicals
  • Evidence that there is a plan / procedure in place to manage animal husbandry


No Known FIP


  • Red snapper production in Malaysia can be considered to be a high risk.
  • Sources of feed are largely undocumented or shown to come from an unsustainable fishery.
  • Trash fish is still a common source of feed in red snapper aquaculture: farmers use otherwise undesirable wild caught fish, deemed unfit for human consumption, to feed their snapper.
  • Some seed likely to come from second-generation broodstock in closed loop hatchery production, although not all.
  • Planning laws in place although these do not completely mitigate all risks concerned with farm siting/only partially effective.
  • Red snapper is grown in both small-scale and large-scale operations in Malaysia: from brackish water ponds for subsistence or local markets to marine net pens for commercial production.
  • Hatchery technology has been achieved and artificial production of fry has been conducted since 1990. However, fry are still caught in local waters and imported from nearby countries for aquaculture production.
  • There is insufficient information to assess the risk of red snapper production in the Philippines.
  • According to the FAO (2016), the country produced 112 tonnes of snapper (Lutjanus spp.) in 2017, however data is not species specific.
  • Red snapper aquaculture in the Philippines is a small subsection of the nation’s fishery and aquaculture industry, with minimal, if any, product making it to the export market.
  • There is insufficient information to assess the risk of red snapper production in Hong Kong, due to production information available on the government Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) website pertaining to general marine finfish culture.
  • A small but organized aquaculture industry exists in Hong Kong. According to AFCD, 3284 tonnes were produced by the aquaculture sector in 2019.
  • Of that, 889 tonnes came from marine finfish culture, which utilizes floating cages in sheltered coves along the coast to produce species including grouper, seabream, mangrove snapper, Russell’s snapper, and star snapper. Fry for marine finfish aquaculture come from China, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, or Indonesia.
  • Trash fish was the traditional feeding method, although pellet feed is becoming common with efforts by the government to promote its use to improve habitat and fish quality.
  • All aquaculture operations in Hong Kong must have a license and be located within designated Fish Culture Zones. Marine finfish farms are small-scale and product serves a small portion of local demand for live fish.
  • A voluntary “Accredited Fish Farm Scheme” also exists in Hong Kong to assist local producers in promoting their sustainable products and competing in the marketplace.
  • There is insufficient information to assess the risk of red snapper production in Singapore.
  • Although not identified by the FAO as an aquaculture producer of snapper, Singapore hosts several farms raising red snapper.
  • As aquaculture technology continues to develop and Singapore aims to become more self-sufficient, fish farming is an expanding part of the country’s food system. According to a recent article, 112 coastal fish farms are in operation in Singapore, producing mainly sea bass, groupers, snappers, and pompano (Elangovan, 2019).