The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Inland Fisheries (DNR) is trying to eradicate snakehead fish, an invasive species, by offering a prize for anglers who remove them. In partnership with Bass Pro Shops the Maryland DNR is offering a $200 Bass Pro Shop gift card through a lottery. In order to be entered into the lottery a Maryland resident must capture and kill a snakehead fish. To enter, an angler should submit catch details and a photo of their dead snakehead online through the DNR Angler’s log, a popular social fishing site, at dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/fishingreport/log.asp. Three lucky anglers will be selected at random at the conclusion of the contest.
Here are some facts about the Snakehead Fish from the DNR:
- As a family, snakeheads are native to parts of Asia and Africa. The northern snakehead is native to China, and possibly Korea and Russia.
- Typically found in a wide variety of habitats
- Northern snakeheads grow to a maximum length of about 33 inches
- Generally tan in appearance, with dark brown mottling; body somewhat elongated; long dorsal fin; jaws contain numerous canine -like teeth (similar to pike or pickerel)
- Capable of breathing air using an air bladder that works as a primitive lung (not found in most fish)
- Able to hibernate in cracks and crevices during cold temperatures and to go dormant in the mud during droughts
- Voracious top-level predator, eating mostly fish, but also eats other aquatic wildlife and frogs
- Capable of moving short distances on land using its pectoral fins; can live out of water for as many as three days
- Favored as a food fish throughout southeast Asia; also believed to have curative powers. Also sold in the aquarium trade.
- Four species have been found in the U.S., in eight states, probably the result of releases from personal aquariums or to develop local food sources
- No natural predators in the U.S.