The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are partnering to launch a northern snakehead tagging program to help remove invasive fish from local waters. The program involves tagging up to 500 snakeheads from Gunpowder River, upper Chesapeake Bay tributaries, and Mattawoman and Nanjemoy creeks of Potomac River this spring.
The goal of the program is to encourage the removal of invasive snakeheads from local waters. Those who harvest a tagged snakehead will receive either $10 for a yellow tag or $200 for a blue tag. Anglers can report the tag number to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service phone number found on the tag, and they will be asked to email a picture of their harvested, tagged snakehead to Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
To qualify for the monetary rewards, only snakeheads that are harvested, removed from the water, and not returned with a tag number that is reported in 2024 will be considered. This program will help biologists measure snakehead harvest in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, providing valuable data to help minimize the impact of the snakehead population.
The northern snakehead is an invasive species that was first discovered in the Potomac River in 2004. Since then, the snakehead population has been increasing in the Chesapeake watershed, posing a threat to local ecosystems. Despite this, the snakehead has become valued as a delicacy by anglers who harvest them for food.
The program is an effort to manage the snakehead population in a way that helps minimize its impact on the Chesapeake watershed. The program also encourages the removal of invasive snakeheads from local waters while providing an incentive for anglers to do so.
Maryland Department of Natural Resources provides more information about the snakehead species on its website. With the program’s launch, they hope to see a significant decrease in the snakehead population and minimize the impacts of this invasive species.