Maryland Department of Natural Resources Continues Snakehead Tagging Program, Providing Cash Incentive for Anglers

Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is continuing a northern snakehead tagging program in an effort to spur the removal of invasive fish from our waters. This spring, up to 500 tags will be put on snakeheads from Gunpowder River, upper Chesapeake Bay tributaries, and Mattawoman and Nanjemoy creeks of the Potomac River. 

Anyone who harvests a tagged snakehead will receive a prize of 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 the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Only snakeheads that are harvested—removed from the water and not returned—with a tag number that is reported in 2024 will qualify for monetary rewards.

The program also helps biologists measure snakehead harvest in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The measure of harvest helps agencies learn if the fishery is being managed in a way that helps minimize the impacts of northern snakeheads. The population of snakeheads has been increasing in the Chesapeake watershed since 2004 when they were first discovered in the Potomac River. Snakeheads have also become valued as a delicacy by anglers who harvest them for food.

More information on snakeheads is available on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website.