Snakehead Fish Reminder - Handling and the Law
05/12/2010 | Posted by DCOSDENTags: Recreational, Snakehead, Regulations
Springtime brings great fishing to Maryland’s tidal tributaries, especially the Potomac River where black bass (largemouth and small mouth bass) are a favorite game fish. The Potomac and its tributaries are also where you will possibly catch a northern snakehead fish, which is an invasive species inadvertently introduced into the river where the species is apparently beginning to thrive.
There should be no confusion about what anglers must do when they catch a snakehead. Maryland fishing regulations allow the taking of snakeheads so long as the fish is immediately killed and its head removed, or the fish is gutted, or both gill arches are removed, or the fish is filleted. Otherwise, the capture and possession of snakeheads is not subject to any season, creel limit or size limit.
“We want you to catch and kill snakeheads,” says Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Inland Fisheries Director Don Cosden. “This is not a species that we encourage in our waters.”
Maryland does not require the reporting of snakehead catches. However, DNR does want to know about any snakeheads caught outside of the Potomac tidal waters by contacting Don Cosden at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (410) 260-8287. This will help DNR track the expansion of the species.
Anglers in Virginia waters who catch a snakehead must immediately kill the fish and subsequently report the catch. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fish hot line is (804) 367-2925.
Federal law prohibits the import of live snakeheads in to the U.S. or across state lines without a permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.