Friday, March 30, 2012

Maryland to Hold "Snakehead Derby"

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) second annual snakehead contest offers prizes and possibly cash for anyone who removes at least one of the “invasive, non-native” snakeheads from the bay and its waterways.

“We do not want snakeheads in our waters,” said DNR Inland Fisheries Director Don Cosden. “This initiative is a way to remind anglers that it is important to catch and remove this invasive species of fish.”

According to the DNR, someone illegally placed the fish in the Potomac River and it has wreaked havoc on wildlife ranging from Great Galls down to the Rhode and Nanticoke Rivers. The snakehead is a top predator in the waterways and negatively impacts the ecosystem and other valuable fish populations, according to a DNR release.
Capt. Mike with a World Class Snakehead.
It's easy enough to assert that the Snakehead has "wreaked havoc on wildlife ranging from Great Galls down to the Rhode and Nanticoke Rivers," but it's a far more difficult thing to prove it.  Evaluating whole ecosystems is not a simple or cheap matter, and I don't believe that much effort has been expended to show that Snakeheads have had much effect at all.  If there is, I'd like to see it.

Somehow, offering a $200 gift certificate and some door prizes doesn't suggest to me that DNR is serious about making any inroads into the Snakehead population.  As I've said before, if the they want to seriously impact Snakehead numbers, allow watermen to sell them to Chinese groceries, set tight seasons and limits, and then turn their backs on enforcement.  That's worked for all the other endangered species...

As for catching and eating Snakeheads?  Go for it, the more the merrier.  Have a ball.  Here's hoping Capt. Mike catches the winning fish this year.

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