Marine Sportfish Carcass Recovery Project

Photo of the Marine Sportfish Carcass Recovery Project

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resources Division initiated the Marine Sportfish Carcass Recovery Project in fall of 1997. This project takes advantage of the fishing efforts of hundreds of anglers by turning filleted fish carcasses that anglers would normally discard into a source of much needed data on Georgia’s marine sportfish. The project is a true partnership of saltwater anglers, marine businesses, conservation groups, and the Coastal Resources Division. The Georgia Power Foundation has been instrumental in providing supplemental funding for this project.

The information provided by fish carcasses is used in a variety of analyses, all of which help biologists and managers better understand the status of Georgia’s coastal fish populations. These data can be used in a descriptive manner to examine trends in the size and age structure of a population such as tracking changes in the average size of spotted seatrout over time. Often times the data from fish carcasses are used in very sophisticated analyses such as the coastal stock assessment for Atlantic coast red drum in which length and age information collected from donated red drum carcasses are used by stock assessment scientists with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Photo of a chest freezer placed at a marina to collect fish carcasses donated by anglers

Chest freezers are placed near fish cleaning stations at both public access locations, marinas, as well as private community docks along the Georgia coast. Each freezer is marked with an identifying sign and a list of target fish species. Cooperating anglers can place the filleted carcasses, with head and tail intact, in a bag, drop in a completed angler information card, and then place the bag in the freezer. Each fish is identified to species, the fish length is measured, sex is determined, and the otoliths are removed. The otoliths are then used to age the fish. Nearly 2,000 unique anglers have donated more than 65,000 fish carcasses since the project began.  Click here to access archived SIP annual reports, which each include a Carcass Recovery Project annual summary.

Photo of biologists working up donated fish carcasses       Photo of biologist removing the otoliths, or ear bones, from a fish such that they can later determine age of the fish

Can’t find a carcass freezer close enough to you? Encourage your local marina to participate! Marinas and fishing clubs who would like to host one of our freezers should contact Chris Kalinowsky or Ryan Harrell at 912-264-7218.

Freezer Location  Address  City  Phone
Bull River Marina 8005 Highway 80 East Savannah (912) 897-7300
Landings Yacht Club 1 Marina Dr  Savannah (912) 598-1901
Hogan's Marina 36 Wilmington Island Rd  Savannah (912) 897-3474
Bahia Blue Marina 2812 River Dr  Thunderbolt (912) 354-2283
Savannah Bend Marina 188 Old Tybee Road Thunderbolt (912) 897-3625
Fort McAllister Marina 3203 Fort McAllister Rd  Richmond Hill (912) 727-2632
Halfmoon Marina 171 Azalea Road  Midway (912) 884-5819
Shellman Bluff Fish Camp 1058 River Rd NE Townsend (912) 832-4331
Two-Way Fish Camp 250 Ricefield Way  Brunswick (912) 265-0410
Blue N Hall Marina  1510 Blue N Hall Rd Darien (912) 437-4677
Morningstar Marinas Golden Isles 206 Marina Drive St. Simons Island (912) 480-0266
St. Simons Fishing Club 1000 Arthur J. Moore Drive St. Simons Island (912) 638 9146
Hickory Bluff Marina 307 Hickory Bluff Drive Waverly (912) 262-0453
Buccaneers Bait & Tackle 290 East Meeting St. St. Marys (912) 882-6277
(updated 6/29/2022)      


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