Marine Fisheries Division encourages anglers to donate Red Snapper carcasses to science – OBX Today

Marine Fisheries Division encourages anglers to donate Red Snapper carcasses to science - OBX Today
Red Snapp [Photo courtesy NOAA]

The N.C Division of Marine Fisheries will collect Red Snapper carcasses from recreational fishermen during the July 14-15 Red Snapper mini-season.

The division has set up four temporary freezer locations, in addition to the eleven 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 Dr, Carolina Beach
  • Capt. Stacy Fishing Center, 416 Atlantic Beach Causeway, Atlantic Beach
  • Carolina Princess Headboat Dock, 604 Evans St, Morehead City

The year-round locations are (map available here):

  • Oden’s Dock, 57878 North Carolina Hwy 12, Hatteras
  • Cape Pointe Marina, Harkers Island
  • Frisco Rod & Gun, Frisco
  • Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head
  • Eastside Bait & Tackle, Washington
  • Dudley’s Marina, Swansboro
  • Pelagic Hunter Fishing Center, Sneads Ferry
  • Sea View Crab Company, Wilmington
  • Tex’s Tackle, Wilmington
  • N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Headquarters, Morehead City
  • 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 N.C. Saltwater Fishing Tournament.
When cleaning the fish, anglers should leave the head and tail intact and, if possible, leave the guts/reproductive organs 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 when 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 Apple App stores 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 2023 recreational Red Snapper season will open for two days – Friday and Saturday July 14-15. The season officially opens at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 14 and closes at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, July 16.
Anglers may 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 10, 2023, with a 75-pound gutted weight trip limit. The season will close at 12:01 a.m. Jan. 1, 2024, 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 (see diagrams). Offset circle hooks and stainless-steel circle hooks are not allowed for snapper grouper fishing.

For specific recreational harvest regulations, go to Proclamation FF-27-2023. For specific commercial harvest regulations, go to Proclamation FF-26-2023.
Read the NOAA Fisheries announcement of the Red Snapper season here.

More information on best fishing practices, including how-to videos for rigging descending devices, can be found here.
Read more about North Carolina’s Red Snapper Carcass Collection program here, or, for more information, contact Amanda Macek, division sportfishing specialist, at (252) 808-8081 or