Gray Triggerfish


Family Balistidae

Balistes capriscus

Illustration and Copyright by Diane Rome Peebles
Illustrations are for viewing purposes only.

Description: The primary body color of adult gray triggerfish is light gray to olive-gray to yellowish-brown. This fish appears dull gray while swimming in open waters , however it has the ability to change its coloration slightly to match other surroundings. There are three faint broad dark blotches on upper body and often white dots and lines on the lower body and fins . Blue spots and lines are located on the upper body and dorsal fin. There is a pale narrow band on the chin and the upper rim of the eye is blue. The dorsal and anal fins appear marbled in color. Gray triggerfish fade in color as they age.

Where found: Preferring hard bottoms , reefs, and ledges, the gray triggerfish is abundant in nearshore and offshore locations This fish inhabits bays , lagoons , and seaward reefs to depths of 180 feet. The adults drift along the bottom either alone or in small groups, while the juveniles drift at the surface with sargassum. May be found at depths of 0 to 100 meters.

Possession and Size Limits: Included in the 20 reef fish aggregate, 14” FL.

NOTICE: If recreational landings exceed the annual catch limit, accountability measures are in place that require NOAA Fisheries to reduce the length of the following recreational fishing season by the amount necessary to ensure recreational landings do not exceed the recreational target total allowable catch for that following fishing year.

Size: up to 13 pounds.

Stock Status: to a 2011 SEDAR 9 Stock Assessment Update, Gray triggerfish are overfished, and overfishing is occurring.  Gray triggerfish are under a rebuilding plan, and the Gulf Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee has requested annual updates of gray triggerfish stock status from the Southeast Fishery Science Center. A stock assessment update is tentatively scheduled for 2015.