Marine Fisheries encourages donation of red snapper carcasses

Red Snapp [Photo courtesy NOAA]

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will collect red snapper carcasses from recreational fishermen during the upcoming red snapper season.

The division has set up four new freezer locations, in addition to the 12 carcass collection locations available throughout the year, where recreational fishermen can take their red snapper carcasses.

For a map year-round carcass collection locations click here.

Anglers who donate a red snapper carcass will receive a citation from the N.C. Saltwater Fishing Tournament.

Fishermen should leave the head and tail intact on the fish carcass. Instructions on how to deposit the carcasses are posted on each freezer and available online here. 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 to receive their reward and 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 also may 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 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 2019 recreational red snapper season will open for two weekends: July 12-14 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and July 19-20 (Friday, Saturday) with a one-fish per person per day bag limit and no size limit. Captain and crew on for-hire vessels may retain the recreational bag limit.

A commercial season opened today with a 75-pound gutted weight trip limit. It will close Dec. 31 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.

Fisherman who choose to practice catch-and-release or release over limit fish are encouraged to use either venting tools or descending devices to ensure the highest likelihood of survival of released red snapper and other snapper-grouper species. More information on type and proper use of descending devices can be found here.
For specific information on commercial and recreational harvest limits, go to Proclamation FF-23-2019. To read the National Marine Fisheries Service bulletin on the subject, go here.

For more information on this red snapper carcass collection program, go here, or contact Carole Willis, division sportfishing specialist, at 252-808-8081 or