Red Snapper Carcass Collection

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will collect Red Snapper carcasses from recreational fishermen during the Red Snapper mini-season. The division has set up four temporary cooler locations in addition to the eleven carcass collection locations available throughout the year, where recreational fishermen can donate their Red Snapper carcasses. Learn more about what the division does with the carcasses on the Carcass Collection Program webpage.

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. Anglers who donate a Red Snapper carcass will receive a citation (certificate) from the N.C. Saltwater Fishing Tournament.

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

NOAA Fisheries Announces Limited Openings of Recreational and Commercial Red Snapper Seasons in South Atlantic Federal Waters

Red Snapper Open Limited Season (Proclamation FF-27-2023)

NOAA Fisheries Announces Gear Modifications for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery

Freezer Locations

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More Information

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Red Snapper
Lutjanus campechanus

AKA: mules, sow snapper, chickens

Description: Red snapper is a deep-bodied fish with a long, triangular snout. It has a brick red back and upper sides, but the belly and lower sides are more pinkish. Smaller fish (up to 10 inches) have a dark spot on the upper sides just below the soft dorsal fin. The irises of their eyes are dark red. There is no black spot at the base of the pectoral fin.

Size: Red snapper grow to 35 pounds.

Vermilion Snapper
Rhomboplites aurorubens

AKA: beeliner

Description: Vermilion snapper have relatively slender bodies with short snouts. The lower jaw projects slightly. The body is red on top and pale to silver white on bottom with irregular, narrow gold streaks below the lateral line. The dorsal fin is a rose color with a yellow margin. The caudal fin is red with a faint black margin.

Size: Vermilion snapper are found up to 25 inches long and 6 pounds.


Step 1: Once back to the dock, fillet your fish. If you are part of a charter or headboat party please let your fish cleaner know you’d like to donate your carcass. 

Step 2: Keep the head and tail intact and, if possible, leave the guts in the fish. This is important to the biologist collecting data.

Step 3: While your catch is still fresh, take the carcass to the nearest donation location. 

Step 4: All of the needed supplies are found inside of the Carcass Collection freezers. Use a pencil to fill out the provided carcass card in full. Please include as much information about your trip and number of species harvested as possible.

Step 5: Place the fish carcass or carcasses and the completed catch card into the plastic bags provided. If more than one bag is needed, please include a catch card in each bag.

Step 6: Tie the bag closed, and place your closed bag in the collection freezer.