Invasive Northern Snakehead Fish Found On Eastern Shore of Maryland

posted in: Chesapeake Bay News | 0

In April, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) received reports of northern snakehead fish caught from private ponds in Wicomico and Queen Anne’s counties.

While surveying the pond in Wicomico County, DNR biologists found three adult snakeheads. A similar survey of the Queen Anne’s County pond turned up seven snakeheads, including subadult fish, which suggests that snakeheads are reproducing there.

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.

Northern snakeheads, which are from China, breed rapidly and prey on native fish. In abundance, they can upset the local ecological balance. The species was first discovered in the Chesapeake Bay watershed in 2002 in a Crofton pond.

Since then, 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.

DNR encourages anglers to kill any snakeheads they catch, and to report any catches in Maryland outside of the tidal Potomac River to or 410-260-8325.

source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

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