ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A new initiative to track northern snakeheads in the Chesapeake Bay and Blackwater River.
Maryland's Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife have begun tagging up to 500 northern snakeheads.
Between now and 2024, the state is offering gift cards to fishermen who catch and harvest the tagged snakeheads.
Each of the 500 snakeheads have a blue or yellow tag. One is worth a $10 gift card, while the other is worth $200.
To qualify, harvesters should take a picture of their caught snakehead and report the tag number by calling 800-448-8322.
By measuring the number of northern snakehead harvested, the agencies can see if population benchmarks are being reached to help control spread of the species.
As of late, the snakehead population has increased in the upper Chesapeake Bay which is the likely cause of other fish being eaten in the Blackwater River.
State officials say snakeheads can be a flavorful and nutritious food source.
It is also illegal to transport a live northern snakehead in Maryland and surrounding states.