Sector Definition

The Snapper Grouper sector comprises the wild and farmed snapper (Lutjanidae family) and grouper (Serranidae family) species. Most snapper and grouper species are coastal demersal fish, generally associated to hard-bottom habitats (rocky or reef areas). Both snapper and grouper are highly valuable fish for the US, European, and some Asian markets. These species are generally traded live, fresh (or chilled), or frozen.


SFP estimates the Snapper Grouper sector to have a total global production of 907,000 tonnes. This includes FAO data for 2014 and, where data was not complete, such as in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Suriname, Ecuador, Honduras, Vietnam, and Panama, estimates on production data from the Sea Around Us project and national statistics reports. Snapper accounts for 38 percent of the production in the sector, while grouper accounts for 62 percent. Farmed snapper and grouper account for approximately 18 percent of the production volume, the vast majority of which is grouper (25 percent of grouper production is from aquaculture). Top production countries are Indonesia and China, followed by Malaysia, India, Mexico, and Philippines and 15 other countries.

Unfortunately, trade data on snapper and grouper is of poor quality and low resolution. Anecdotal information suggests that the vast majority of snapper and grouper production is consumed in markets with activities to engage companies (e.g., China, Brazil, Indonesia) and markets with little or no engagement in sustainability and no existing or planned activities to engage companies (e.g., Malaysia, the Philippines), with a much smaller amount being consumed in markets that are highly engaged in sustainability (e.g., the US).

Target 75

The T75 sector report for snapper and grouper details the state of the sector. Based on 2014 production data, 73,000 tonnes, or 8 percent of the global production, are currently considered sustainable or improving, using publicly available information on MSC status and FIP progress ratings reviewed in early October 2017.

Engagement with existing supply chain roundtables could feasibly move an additional 26 percent of global production into the sustainable or improving categories by 2020, combining with the current sustainable or improving production to generate a total of 34 percent.

The Indonesia Snapper and Grouper SR focuses on the world largest supplier of snapper and grouper. Primarily comprised of US importers of Indonesian snapper and grouper, although one Indonesia- based supplier (who supplies to domestic retailers) recently joined the SR, current participation is adequate to allow some forward progress.  However, in order to achieve the T75 goals for Indonesia, this SR must undergo extensive expansion to include more US-based importers, more Indonesia-based suppliers, and suppliers to other markets in Asia. The mostly artisanal and geographically distributed nature of the fisheries requires a co- management approach, which will require investments in basic fisheries management, such as data gathering, capacity building, monitoring, assessments, formal identification, and licensing of fishers, etc. These improvements are required at a national level to truly effect change; thus, national-level FIP is seen as a key tool.

The Mexican Seafood SR is comprised of US-based importers of Mexican seafood products. The primary goal of the SR is to encourage vendors in Mexico to participate in efforts to improve the national fishery management system in Mexico, but there is also interest in catalyzing improvement efforts for some of the most commonly imported species, including snapper and grouper. The current focus is on snapper and grouper in the Gulf of Mexico, but eventually efforts will expand to the Pacific coast.

The key to closing the gap to T75 is to successfully engage new markets and production industries, primarily in Southeast Asia. The snapper and grouper aquaculture industries must also be engaged. This is unlikely to occur on a scale large enough to be effective with respect to T75 by 2020.