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Contact: John M.R. Bull
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This press release was updated on Nov. 1, 2013

NEWPORT NEWS, VA. --- Attention saltwater anglers:  The Virginia Marine Resources Commission wants your fish carcasses.  You catch it, you fillet it, but instead of throwing the remains in the trash, please donate them to science.

Freezers to collect these donations are placed at some of the more popular bait and tackle shops around the Chesapeake Bay region, as part of the Marine Sportfish Collection Project.  The project focuses on species of fish that are difficult to collect through the agency's commercial sampling program.  Anglers are asked to donate their filleted carcasses (head and tail intact) of fresh-caught bluefish, cobia, sheepshead, spadefish, Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, red and black drum, tautog, tilefish and grouper.

Scientists want to study the length, age, and sex of the fish.  The information will help the state agency assess the health of these fish populations without collecting large numbers of live fish to study.  As a result, this project will leave more fish out there for you to catch next time.  The growing success of the project has been demonstrated by increasing numbers of carcass donations each year.

The age of the fish will be determined by analyzing the rings of the otolith, a small bone that develops layers of variable growth in the summer and winter, similar to the growth of rings in trees.  In return for participating in the project, the agency will provide a free sportfish tee-shirt.  New shirt designs have been ordered for this fall, so be sure to continue participating and promoting this valuable project!

Freezers are currently placed at Wallace's Bait and Tackle in Hampton, Long Bay Pointe Marina in Virginia Beach, the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, Rudee Inlet Station Marina in Virginia Beach, Little Creek Marina in Norfolk, and Chris' Bait and Tackle in Capeville.  A new location has been established this year at Port Messick Marina in Poquoson.

Revised November 1,  2013

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