Looks like snakeheads are on the move again… The northern snakehead fish is an invasive speices, native to China, and was first discovered in the Chesapeake Bay watershed in 2002 in a Crofton pond. According to a recent DNR report:
“Anglers caught several northern snakehead fish from private ponds in Wicomico and Queen Anne’s counties in early April. While surveying the pond in Wicomico County, Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologists found three more adult snakeheads. A DNR survey of the Queen Anne’s County pond turned up seven more, including subadult fish, which suggests that snakeheads are reproducing there.
‘We suspect that the fish may have been illegally introduced to at least one of these sites because it’s a neighborhood pond normally disconnected from Wicomico River,’ said Joe Love, DNR fisheries biologist.
It is illegal in Maryland, Virginia and Delaware to move, possess or release live snakeheads because these jurisdictions, along with the federal government, consider them an invasive or nuisance species. The penalty for possessing a live snakehead or introducing one into Maryland waters can reach $25,000 and 30 days in jail.
Northern snakeheads breed rapidly and prey on native fish. Since 2002, the population has spread throughout the tidal Potomac River and more recently to the Patuxent, Nanticoke, Wicomico and Blackwater rivers. Fisheries biologists are concerned that the species will soon spread to the Choptank River and the Susquehanna Flats.
To raise awareness and help control the population spread of invasive fish, DNR added an Invasive Species Award category to its annual Maryland Fishing Challenge. DNR encourages anglers to kill any snakeheads they catch, and to report any catches in Maryland outside of the tidal Potomac River to firstname.lastname@example.org or (410) 260-8325.
For the full report: news.maryland.gov/dnr/2015/05/13