Freezers in place for fish carcass collection

Published 6:01 am Thursday, June 14, 2018

Coastal recreational anglers can help state fisheries biologists learn more about the fish they catch by donating fish carcasses to science.

The NC Division of Marine Fisheries’ Carcass Collection Program has set up freezers at 12 locations along the coast where fishermen can donate fish carcasses.

The program currently accepts the carcasses of black sea bass, black drum, croaker, cobia, flounder, gray trout (weakfish), grouper, red drum, sea mullet (kingfish), sheepshead, snapper, Spanish mackerel spotted seatrout (speckled trout), striped bass and triggerfish.

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Division biologists will measure the fish, determine the sex, if possible, and remove the otoliths (ear bones) to determine the fish’s age. The information collected will be used in future stock assessments. Stock assessments rely on a variety of information, including biological data, to provide an understanding of a species’ population.

Outer Banks anglers can find freezers at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, Fishing Unlimited in Manteo, Frank and Fran’s in Avon, Red Drum in Buxton and Frisco Rod & Gun in Frisco. A map of the locations can be found at

When cleaning the fish, anglers should leave the head and tail intact and, if possible, leave the guts in the fish. Anglers who fished on a charter boat or head boat should let the fish cleaner know the fish will be donated.

While the catch is still fresh, take the carcass to the nearest freezer location. Instructions on how to deposit the carcasses are posted on each freezer. Anglers will be asked to give information related to how and when the fish was caught. Fishermen also will be asked for their names and addresses.

For more information on Carcass Collection Program, click here, or contact Carole Willis, division sportfishing specialist, at 252-808-8081 or carole.y.willis@ncdenr,gov.