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Tagging study offers $10-$200 rewards on invasive snakeheads

Tagging study offers $10-$200 rewards on invasive snakeheads

By Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Tagged invasive snakeheads caught in the Chesapeake Bay or Blackwater River are worth up to $200 each with a new tagging program offered in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In an effort to monitor invasive northern snakeheads in the Chesapeake Bay and Blackwater River, both agencies are placing yellow or blue tags on up to 500 northern snakeheads. For each tagged northern snakehead harvested from now until 2024, the person who caught it could be rewarded with a gift card of $10 or $200 depending on the tag.

To qualify, the harvester must report the tag number to USFWS by calling (800)448-8322 and is asked to take a picture of their harvested and tagged northern snakehead. Only harvested northern snakeheads with reported tags qualify for gift cards.

By measuring the amount of northern snakehead harvested, agencies will learn if population benchmarks are being reached and help control the spread of the species.

The population of snakeheads has been increasing in the upper Chesapeake Bay and is likely the top fish species that eats other fish in the Blackwater River. Harvesting snakeheads helps reduce predation pressure on the state’s natural resources, and the fish is also considered a flavorful and nutritious food source.

It is illegal to transport a live northern snakehead in Maryland and surrounding states. More information on snakeheads is available online.

Anyone fishing in Maryland waters who is 16 years of age or older must have a valid Maryland fishing license. More information on licenses and how to get them is also on the DNR website.

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Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd