NC Marine Fisheries Division asks anglers to donate red snapper carcasses to science

Published 8:05 am Saturday, July 9, 2022

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The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries will collect red snapper carcasses from recreational fishermen during the upcoming red snapper mini-season.

The division has set up five temporary freezer locations, in addition to the 10 carcass collection locations available throughout the year, where recreational fishermen can take their red snapper carcasses.

The temporary locations are:

  • Bridge Tender Marina, 1418 Airlie Rd, Wilmington
  • Carolina Beach Municipal Docks, Carl Winner Drive, Carolina Beach
  • Stacy Fishing Center, 416 Atlantic Beach Causeway, Atlantic Beach
  • Carolina Princess Headboat Dock, 604 Evans Street, Morehead City
  • Oden’s Dock, 57878 North Carolina Hwy 12, Hatteras
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The year-round locations are:

  • Cape Pointe Marina, Harkers Island
  • Frisco Rod & Gun, Frisco
  • Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head
  • Pogies Fishing & Kayaking Center, Swansboro
  • Pelagic Hunter Fishing Center, Sneads Ferry
  • Sea View Crab Company, Wilmington
  • Tex’s Tackle, Wilmington
  • C. Division of Marine Fisheries Headquarters, Morehead City
  • C. Division of Marine Fisheries, Wilmington
  • Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point – Environmental Affairs Office (available only to those with military base access)

Anglers who donate a red snapper carcass will receive a citation (certificate) from the North Carolina Saltwater Fishing Tournament.

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 carcass will be donated.

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 if they wish to receive a citation.

Division biologists will measure the fish, determine the sex, if possible, and remove the otoliths (ear bones) to determine the age of the fish. The information collected will be provided to the National Marine Fisheries Service for use in future red snapper stock assessments.

Recreational anglers may also log information about their recreational trips and catches through the MyFishCount electronic reporting mobile app. The app is available for free download at the Google Play and Apple App Store or through the MyFishCount website. Reports of the number of harvested and released fish will improve the accuracy of National Marine Fisheries Service’s catch estimates.

The 2022 recreational red snapper season was two days – Friday and Saturday July 8-9 – and closes at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, July 10.

Anglers can keep one fish per person per day. There will be no minimum or maximum size limit. Captain and crew on for-hire vessels may retain the recreational bag limit.

The commercial red snapper season will open at 12:01 a.m. July 11, 2022 with a 75-pound gutted weight trip limit. The season will close at 12:01 a.m. Jan. 1, 2023 or when the commercial quota is met, whichever comes first. Division biologists will obtain data from commercially caught red snapper at the fish houses. Commercially caught carcasses should not be left in the Carcass Collection Program freezers.

Gear regulations implemented in previous years for commercial, for-hire and recreational snapper-grouper fishing remain in effect. The regulations require:

  • A descending device be on board and readily available for use while fishing for or possessing snapper-grouper species; and
  • Use of non-offset (also called inline), non-stainless-steel circle hooks when fishing for or possessing snapper-grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits, regardless of tackle or lure configuration. A non-offset circle hook is a hook with the point directed perpendicular back towards the shank, with the point and barb in the same plane as the shank. Offset circle hooks and stainless-steel circle hooks are not allowed for snapper grouper fishing.

For specific recreational harvest regulations, go to Proclamation FF-36-2022. For specific commercial harvest regulations, go to Proclamation FF-37-2022.

For more information, contact Sara Pace, division age lab biologist, at 252-808-8078 or