Maryland offers gift cards to anglers who catch northern snakeheads – KIRO 7 News Seattle

BALTIMORE — Anglers in Maryland have a chance to make money if they catch an invasive species, as a new government program is offering up to $200 for each northern snakehead caught.

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The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has partnered with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to place blue or yellow tags on up to 500 northern snakeheads, the agency said in a statement. Press release. Each tagged snakehead caught and harvested through 2024 could earn the person who caught it a $10 or $200 gift card, depending on the tag.

The northern snakehead is native to East Asia but was first discovered as an established population in 2002 in Maryland, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Invasive Species Information Center. The fish started breeding after being released from fish markets and pose a risk to other animals as they feed on and compete with native species.

“By measuring the amount of northern snakehead harvested, agencies will learn if population benchmarks are being met and help control the spread of the species,” the Maryland Department of Natural Resources said. in a report.

“We like to catch them, chase them, chase them,” said Chris Walker, a fisherman. WJZ-TV. “A bigger one… that bigger one is still out there. There is a lot of money to be made. »

In order to qualify, after catching the fish, the angler must call the USFWS to report the tag number and take a picture of the harvested and tagged fish. Only Northern Snakeheads with tags will be eligible for gift cards.

Federal law prohibits the transport of live northern snakeheads in Maryland and surrounding states, and fishing in Maryland state waters is only legal for persons 16 and older with a license. permit. OMCP reported.

Michael N. Clark