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Maryland Offers ‘Frankenfish’ Bounty

BALTIMORE, (UPI) — Maryland says it is offering a $200 gift card to every angler who catches and kills an invasive snakehead fish, the second year in a row for such bounties.

The snakehead, sometimes dubbed “Frankenfish” or “Fishzilla,” has been found in eight U.S. states and is a problem because as a “top level predator” it has no natural predators in the United States.

The main worry is that it may overwhelm largemouth bass in Maryland and Virginia waters, The Christian Science Monitor reported Monday.

Snakeheads were first spotted in the Potomac River in 2004 and since then have become bigger and more numerous, officials said.

Last year, 69 fishermen entered the snakehead bounty contest, killing 82 of the fish.

However, since a single female snakehead can spawn 15,000 eggs at once, and typically mates five times a year, the contest isn’t likely to have much of an impact on the snakehead population, officials in the state Department of Natural Resources said.

“We don’t expect that anglers will eradicate the snakehead population,” Joe Love, DNR tidal bass program manager, said.

“We do believe this promotion and inspiration of anglers can help control the snakehead population. The information we gain from the Angler’s Log reports are also helpful in assessing the abundance, spread and impact of these feisty fish.”

To claim their bounty anglers must submit catch details and a photo of their dead snakehead online through the DNR Angler’s log, a fishing site.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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