Marine Sportfish Carcass Recovery Project

Marine technicians and biologists with the Coastal Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, remove an otoliths from donated red snapper carcasses Aug. 8, 2023, at DNR Regional Headquarters in Brunswick, Ga. The Coastal Resources Division collects carcasses from anglers to help determine the age, sex, and size of red snappers to aid in fishery management. DNR photo by Tyler Jones.

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 Project data

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Staff pull otoliths from donated carcasses. DNR photo by Tyler Jones.

Project Overview

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resources Division initiated the Marine Sportfish Carcass Recovery Project (MSCRP) in fall of 1997. This project is a collaborative initiative between the GADNR CRD and coastal anglers. The MSCRP relies on donations from filleted fish carcasses from hundreds of anglers by turning the normally discarded fish carcasses 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 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.

Carcass donations since 1997. 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. Over 2,800 unique anglers have donated more than 94,000 fish carcasses since the project began. Anglers who participate are often rewarded with incentives such as hats, t-shirts, and/or stickers.

Carcass Donations Over Time 

Click the play button at the bottom left to see what types of species have been donated over time to the project.

Find a Freezer 

Freezer LocationAddressCityPhone
Bull River Marina8005 U.S. Highway 80 EastSavannah912-897-7300
Savannah Boathouse Marina8020 U.S. Highway 80 EastSavannah912-777-8567
The Landings Harbor Marina600 Priest Landing DriveSavannah912-598-1901
Hogan's Marina36 Wilmington Island RoadSavannah912-897-3474
Bahia Blue Marina2812 River DriveThunderbolt912-354-2283
Savannah Bend Marina 188 Old Tybee RoadThunderbolt912-897-3625
Fort McAllister Marina3203 Fort McAllister RoadRichmond Hill912-727-2635
Halfmoon Marina171 Azalea RoadMidway912-884-5819
Shellman Bluff Fish Camp1058 River Road NortheastTownsend912-832-4331
Georgia DNR WRD Fisheries Office108 Darling AvenueWaycross912-285-6094
Two-Way Fish Camp250 Ricefield WayBrunswick912-265-0410
Blue-N-Hall Marina1520 Blue N Hall RoadDarien912-347-4677
Morningstar Marina206 Marina DriveSt. Simons Island912-480-0266
St. Simons Fishing Club100 Arthur J. Moore DriveSt. Simons Island912-638-9146
Hickory Bluff Marina307 Hickory Bluff DriveWaverly912-262-0453
Buccaneers Bait & Tackle290 East Meeting StreetSt. Marys912-882-6277


Contact Project Coordinators  

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.

See what we do

Watch this short video to see what CRD biologists and technicians do with your donated carcasses.