DNR Proposes Modified Snakehead Fish Regulations
ANNAPOLIS -- The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today proposed new regulations to restrict the possession of snakehead fish.
The regulations require the approval of the General Assembly’s Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review Committee.
In an effort to fully incorporate public comments received, DNR withdrew the previously proposed snakehead regulations, which called for the prohibition of the possession of all species of live snakehead fish (family: Channidae) in the State.
The modified regulations will prohibit the live possession of two species of snakehead fish: Channa argus (Northern snakehead) and Channa maculata (blotched snakehead).
The Northern and blotched snakehead fish are both temperate species. The natural range of these species suggests they pose a long-term threat to ecosystem balance and warrant stringent regulation. These snakehead fish will only be allowed through a DNR permit for scientific purposes.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared snakehead fishes injurious to the wildlife and wildlife resources of the United States in October of 2002. This action prohibited the importation or interstate transport of all live snakehead fish without a permit. The proposed action will complement federal rule by prohibiting the importation and transportation of any live fish or viable eggs of snakehead fishes of the family Channidae in the State. In addition, the proposed regulation will prohibit the sale and breeding of snakehead fish of the family Channidae in order to prevent ownership of new snakehead fish.
A public hearing will be held on the permanent regulation proposal at the DNR C-1 Conference Room, Tawes State Office Building, 580 Taylor Avenue, Annapolis, MD on Nov.10 at 6 p.m. Comments may be submitted at the hearing, via fax at (410) 260-8279, or via an form off the DNR web site at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries.