The fish are biting, and the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is reminding anglers that they can donate their fish carcasses to science.
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Carcass Collection Program has seven freezer sites along the coast where fishermen can donate fish carcasses.
When cleaning the fish, anglers should leave the head and tail intact and, if possible, leave the guts in the fish. Anglers who fished on a charter boat or head boat should let the fish cleaner know the fish will be donated.
While the catch is still fresh, take the carcass to the nearest freezer location. 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 an angler incentive.
The program currently accepts the carcasses of Atlantic croaker, black drum, black sea bass, bluefish, cobia, gray triggerfish, kingfishes (sea mullet), king mackerel, spanish mackerel, red drum, sheepshead, snappers, groupers, spotted seatrout, and weakfish (gray trout).
Division biologists will measure the carcasses, determine the sex, if possible, and remove the otoliths (ear bones) to determine the fish’s age. The information collected may be used in future state and federal stock assessments, which rely on a variety of information, including biological data, to provide an understanding of a species’ population.
For more information, contact Carole Willis, division sportfishing specialist, at (252) 808-8081 or firstname.lastname@example.org.