Atlantic croaker is one of the most important fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico and on the southern Atlantic coast of the United States. Croaker is an abundant fish, and landings in both recreational and commercial fisheries are among the highest in the United States.

The Atlantic croaker is a member of the drum family and is a firm, low-fat seafood option. It is often prepared fried, broiled or baked. Croaker is also used to make frozen crab bait and imitation crabmeat. Try making roasted croaker with braised collard greens and Johnny Cakes and crispy croaker with red onion marmalade.

 

Also known as:

Atlantic croaker, crocus, hardhead, King Billy, corvine, roncadina, corbina, grumbler

Availability:

Fresh and frozen March to October; frozen year-round

Product forms:

Atlantic croaker is generally sold in fillet or steak form, fresh or frozen

Shopping tips:

Look for clear, bright eyes and red gills. If possible smell the fish. It should smell like the ocean and not fishy.

Substitutions:

Try using Atlantic croaker instead of rainbow trout, bass or barramundi.

Recipes:

Roasted croaker with braised collard greens and Johnny Cakes

Crispy croaker with red onion marmalade

Harvest method : Atlantic croaker is harvested commercially in ocean and estuarine areas using a variety of fishing gears, including gillnets, pound nets, haul seines and trawls. More.

Conservation notes:

Atlantic croaker mature quickly, one of the reasons that the population has remained relatively stable despite large annual landings of the commercially and recreationally viable species. More.
Last updated: March 2009

Harvest Method

Atlantic croaker is harvested commercially in ocean and estuarine areas using a variety of fishing gears, including gillnets, pound nets, haul seines and trawls.

Harvest Location


The Atlantic croaker is found in northern and eastern areas of the Gulf of Mexico and along the eastern coast of the United States from Florida to Massachusetts. Commercial fishing grounds extend from the northern Gulf of Mexico, and from the east coast of Florida up to Delaware. In the U.S., the greatest percentage of commercial landings are in North Carolina and Virginia.

Fishery Management


The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission manages the U.S. resource under Amendment 1 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic croaker. The resource is divided into two management regions, the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic. States are required to submit compliance reports and the FMP aims to protect the ecological health of the species while maintaining important recreational and commercial benefits through size restrictions, identifying important croaker habitats, research and monitoring. The FMP promotes fishing methods that reduce bycatch, and encourages trawl efficiency mechanisms.

 

Conservation Notes

Atlantic croaker mature quickly, one of the reasons that the population has remained relatively stable despite large annual landings of the commercially and recreationally viable species. According to the most recent stock assessment conducted in 2004, the Mid-Atlantic resource is believed to be healthy, and the status of the South Atlantic resource was unknown due to lack of data. Ecologically sound fisheries management adequately control the harvest of Atlantic croaker.

Regulations requiring large mesh size in trawls, bans on certain types of fishing nets, and increased implementation of bycatch reducing equipment for other fisheries help make Atlantic croaker an ocean-friendly seafood choice.