Flounder Carcass Collection

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will collect flounder carcasses from recreational fishermen during the 2022 flounder season. The division has set up eight temporary freezer locations, in addition to the ten carcass collection locations available throughout the year, where recreational fishermen can take their flounder carcasses.

Anglers that donate legal carcasses and provide a completed carcass collection catch card will be eligible for either an Angler Recognition Certificate (under 24” total length) or a N.C. Saltwater Fishing Tournament Citation (24” or greater total length).

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 carcass will be donated.

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 a 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 used to inform future flounder stock assessments. Learn more about what the division does with the carcasses on the Carcass Collection Program webpage.

Temporary Freezer Locations

Temporary Freezer Location


Oden’s Dock

57878 North Carolina Hwy 12, Hatteras;

Bridge Tender Marina

1418 Airlie Rd, Wilmington

NC Division of Marine Fisheries

943 Washington Square Mall Highway 17, Washington

Sea Gate Marina

729 Sea Gate Dr, Newport

Chasin’ Tails Outdoors

709 Atlantic Beach Causeway, Atlantic Beach

Ocean Isle Marina

2000 Sommersett Rd SW, Ocean Isle Beach

Seapath Yacht Club

330 Causeway Dr, Wrightsville Beach

Dudley’s Marina

106 Cedar Point Blvd #8000, Cedar Point

Permanent Freezer Locations

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More Information

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three species of flounder

View the division's brochure on how to identify North Carolina's three species of flounder

Southern Flounder

  • This is the most common flounder caught in North Carolina, especially in estuarine waters.
  • Non-ocellated spots cover the body
  • Upper jaw extends to beyond rear margin of eye
  • 8 to 11 gill rakers on lower limb of first gill arch
  • 63 to 74 anal fin rays

Gulf Flounder

diagram of gulf flounder ocellated spot locations

  • This species is occasionally seen in North Carolina waters, usually in the ocean
  • 3 prominent ocellated spots form triangle on body, apex towards caudal fin (can have more than 3 over entire body, but three will be prominent)
  • Upper jaw extends beyond rear margin of eye
  • 9 to 12 gill rakers on lower limb of first gill arch
  • 56 to 63 anal fin rays

Summer Flounder

diagram of summer flounder ocellated spots

  • This species is commonly seen around inlets, in the ocean and in estuarine waters
  • At least 5 ocellated spots on body — 5 prominent ocelli form the pattern from the five-side of a die
  • Upper jaw extends to rear margin of eye
  • 13 to 18 gill rakers on lower limb of first gill arch
  • 60 to 73 anal fin rays

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.