The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds anglers that they are required by regulation to kill Northern Snakehead fish, if caught and kept. Snakehead fish, an invasive species, have started to thrive in the Potomac River and its tributaries.
“We want you to catch and kill snakeheads,” says DNR Inland Fisheries Director Don Cosden. “This is not a species that we want in our waters.”
Maryland fishing regulations allow the taking of snakeheads, so long as the fish is:
- immediately killed and its head removed
- 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.
Maryland does not require the reporting of snakehead catches. DNR asks that anglers report any snakeheads caught outside of 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.