North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries officials are asking recreational fishers to donate for research red snapper carcasses caught during this weekend’s mini-season.
The recreational red snapper season officially opens at 12:01 a.m. Friday and closes at 12:01 a.m. Sunday. Anglers may keep one fish per person per day and there is no minimum or maximum size limit. Captain and crew on for-hire vessels may retain the recreational bag limit.
Fishers can drop off the carcasses for the Carcass Collection Program at the division’s five temporary freezer locations or the 10 year-round carcass collection locations.
The temporary locations are:
- Bridge Tender Marina, 1418 Airlie Road, Wilmington.
- Carolina Beach Municipal Docks, Carl Winner Drive, Carolina Beach.
- Capt. Stacy Fishing Center, 416 Atlantic Beach Causeway, Atlantic Beach.
- Carolina Princess Headboat Dock, 604 Evans St., Morehead City.
- Oden’s Dock, 57878 N.C.12, Hatteras.
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.
- N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Headquarters, Morehead City.
- N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, Wilmington.
- Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point – Environmental Affairs Office, available only to those with military base access.
Instructions on how to deposit the carcasses are on each freezer. Fishers will be asked to give information on how and when the fish was caught as well as their names and addresses if they wish to receive a citation.
Division officials ask that when cleaning the fish to leave the head and tail intact and, if possible, leave the guts in the fish. if caught while on a charter boat or head boat, let the fish cleaner know the carcass will be donated.
Division biologists will measure the fish, determine the sex, if possible, and remove the 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.
Anglers who donate a red snapper carcass will receive a certificate from the North Carolina Saltwater Fishing Tournament. Also known as the Citation Program, the tournament that takes place Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 recognizes exceptional catches of the state’s most popular sport fish.
Recreational anglers may log information about their recreational trips and catches through the MyFishCount electronic reporting mobile app. The free app can be downloaded from Google Play and Apple App Store or the MyFishCount website. Reports of the number of harvested and released fish will improve the accuracy of National Marine Fisheries Service’s catch estimates.
Commercial red snapper season
The commercial red snapper season will open at 12:01 a.m. July 11 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.
Commercially caught carcasses should not be left in the Carcass Collection Program freezers. Division biologists will collect data from commercially caught red snapper at the fish houses.
Gear regulations implemented in previous years for commercial, for-hire, and recreational snapper-grouper fishing remain in effect.
Regulations require a descending device be on board and readily available for use while fishing for or possessing snapper-grouper species.
Regulations also require the use of nonoffset, also called inline, nonstainless-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 nonoffset 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.
The National Marine Fisheries Service announcement of the Red Snapper season is available online.
More information on best fishing practices, including how-to videos for rigging descending devices, can be found online as well.
Read more about North Carolina’s Red Snapper carcass collection program on the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality website. Contact for the program is Sara Pace, division age lab biologist, at 252-808-8078 or firstname.lastname@example.org.