DNR to Offer Recognition and Prizes to Anglers Who Catch and Kill Snakeheads

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Annapolis, Md. (April 15, 2011) – In an effort to stem the spread of the invasive snakehead fish the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Potomac River Fisheries Commission (PRFC), and the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USF&WS) are providing an opportunity to win prizes for anglers who catch, kill and enter photos of the snakeheads through the popular DNR online Angler’s Log social fishing site at http://dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/fishingreport/log.asp.

“We do not want Snakeheads in our waters,” says DNR Inland Fisheries Director Don Cosden. “This initiative is a way to remind anglers that it is important to catch and kill this destructive species of fish.”

The Northern snakehead is a non-native fish species that was illegally introduced to the Potomac River. Snakeheads have thrived and expanded due to their ability to adapt to the Potomac’s ecosystem, and they now occupy the Potomac River and many of its tributaries. As top predators, their negative impacts to the ecosystem and other important recreational and commercially valued fisheries could be significant.

From now until December 31st, 2011, anyone who catches a Northern snakehead with a hook-and-line and posts the catch including a photo of the dead fish on DNR’s Angler’s Log will be entered into a year end drawing. Anglers should report the location of their snakehead catches, as specifically as possible and include a ruler or another measuring device to indicate the size of the fish in the photo. Prizes include a $200 rod and tackle package, a Maryland State Park Passport and a 2012 Potomac River Fishing license. The park passport allows unlimited day-use entry for up to 10 people in a vehicle, unlimited boat launching at ALL facilities and a 10 percent discount on state-operated concessions and boat rentals.

If the snakehead has a tag inserted in its back, you may also call (800) 448-8322 and report the tag number to receive a special edition hat and a certificate from the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service.

It is not expected that angler removals will eradicate snakeheads from Maryland waters, but DNR believes that this action may help slow or reduce snakehead abundance. It has been demonstrated that fisheries with high harvest rates can significantly depress fish populations. Information gained from anglers will also help biologists assess abundance and impacts to other species. Anglers should remember that is illegal to possess a live northern snakehead in Maryland and Federal law prohibits transport of live snakeheads into the U.S. or across state lines.