The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will collect red snapper carcasses from recreational fishermen during the upcoming red snapper season. Also, new gear requirements for the snapper-grouper fishery will go into effect shortly after the red snapper season opens.
The division has set up four new freezer locations, in addition to the seven carcass collection locations available throughout the year, where recreational fishermen can take their red snapper carcasses.
The additional locations are:
- Bridge Tender Marina, Wrightsville Beach
- Carolina Beach Municipal Docks
- Capt. Stacy Fishing Center, Atlantic Beach
- Carolina Princess head boat dock, Morehead City
For a map of other year-round carcass collection locations go here [portal.ncdenr.org].
Anglers who donate a red snapper carcass will receive a citation (certificate) 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 [portal.ncdenr.org]. 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.
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 [myfishcount.com]. Reports of the number of harvested and released fish will improve the accuracy of National Marine Fisheries Service’s catch estimates.
The 2020 recreational red snapper season will open for two weekend periods:
- July 10 to July 12 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), and
- July 17 (Friday).
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 July 13 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.
In addition, 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 must 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 [portal.ncdenr.org]). Offset circle hooks and stainless-steel circle hooks are not allowed for snapper grouper fishing.
Read the NOAA Fisheries announcement of the red snapper season here [fisheries.noaa.gov]. Read the NOAA Fisheries announcement of the new gear requirements here [fisheries.noaa.gov].
More information on best fishing practices, including how-to videos for rigging descending devices, can be found here [safmc.net].
Read more about North Carolina’s red snapper carcass collection program here [portal.ncdenr.org], or, for more information, contact Carole Willis, division sportfishing specialist, at 252-808-8081 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.