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DMF Asks for Red Snapper Carcasses

The state Division of Marine Fisheries is readying for the 2020 red snapper season and asking recreational fishers to donate red snapper carcasses.

Additionally, there are new gear requirements for the snapper-grouper fishery that will go into effect shortly after the red snapper season opens.

Recreational season will be open July 10 to July 12 and July 17. The commercial red snapper season will open July 13 with a 75-pound gutted weight trip limit and will close Dec. 31 or when the commercial quota is met, whichever comes first.

Red snapper. Image: DMF

The DMF will collect red snapper carcasses from recreational fishermen during the red snapper season. Those who donate will receive a citation, or certificate, from the N.C. Saltwater Fishing Tournament.

Division biologists will measure the fish, determine the sex 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.

In addition to the seven carcass collection locations available throughout the year where recreational fishermen can take their red snapper carcasses, the division has set up additional freezers at Bridge Tender Marina in Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach Municipal Docks, Capt. Stacy Fishing Center in Atlantic Beach and the Carolina Princess head boat dock in Morehead City. For a map of other year-round carcass collection locations go here.

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. 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 citation.

Recreational anglers may log information about their recreational trips and catches through the MyFishCount electronic reporting mobile app 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.

 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.

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.

 New gear requirements for commercial, for-hire, and recreational snapper-grouper fishing go into effect July 15.

These gear modifications are consistent with the final rule for Regulatory Amendment 29 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan of the South Atlantic, which requires a descending device on board and readily available for use while fishing for or possessing snapper-grouper species and 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 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.

Learn More

  •  For specific recreational harvest regulations, go to Proclamation FF-28-2020
  • For specific commercial harvest regulations, go to Proclamation FF-29-2020
  • A Fisheries announcement of the new gear requirements 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 Carole Willis, division sportfishing specialist, at 252-808-8081 or
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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.