The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has announced a new tagging program in the Chesapeake Bay and Blackwater River. This is in an effort to monitor invasive northern snakeheads in the Chesapeake Bay and Blackwater River.
Both the Maryland DNR and the USFWS are placing yellow or blue tags on up to 500 northern snakeheads (Channa argus). Each tagged northern snakehead caught and harvested from now until 2024 is a potential gift card. Depending on the tag on the northern snakehead, you can be rewarded with a $10 or $200 gift card.
In order to qualify for the rewards, the harvester must report the number on the tag to the USFWS at 800-448-8322. The harvester is also asked to take a picture of the harvested and tagged northern snakehead. Only harvested northern snakeheads with reported tags will qualify for gift cards.
Catch Snakeheads for Money
The tagging helps in measuring the amount of northern snakehead harvested. The two agencies are hoping to learn if the population benchmarks are being reached in the management of the northern snakehead. This is to help with controlling the spread of the invasive species.
The population of northern snakeheads, on the whole, is climbing in the upper Chesapeake Bay. They are likely an apex predator of the Blackwater River, capable of eating any other fish species in the river. The harvest of northern snakeheads helps in reducing the predation pressure on the native species that inhabit the river. Northern snakeheads are considered to be good table fare, flavorful, and nutritious.
Remember to receive a reward you must contact USFWS at 800-448-8322 with a picture of the harvested and tagged snakehead. It is illegal to transport a live northern snakehead in Maryland and the surrounding states. More information on snakeheads here on the DNR website. Anyone fishing in Maryland 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.