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Maryland Fishers Who Catch Northern Snakeheads Could Earn Up To $200 A Catch

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Fishers, get your lines ready. You might be able to win some cash depending on what you catch in Maryland.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are partnering to offer gift cards to fishers who reel in the invasive northern snakeheads.

In an effort to track and contain the species, the agencies are placing yellow or blue tags on up to 500 northern snakeheads and offering gift cards of $10 and $200 depending on the tag to people who catch them. The reward is in place until 2024.

They're native to Asia and Russia and can grow to be about 33 inches long, and they're taking over the Chesapeake Bay and Blackwater River on the Eastern Shore - preying on our native fish.

The Department of Natural Resources says they're reeling in anglers to learn more about the fish's population and where they migrate.

"We love catching them, chasing them, pursuing them," said fisherman Chris Walker.

Walker is no stranger to the sport. He says snakeheads are finding their way in crab traps in the bay.

And while he releases 99% of his catches, if he spots a tag, he might just call it in.

"A bigger one... that bigger one is always out there," Walker said. "There's a lot of money to be made."

A fun fact about this fish: they're known for staying alive out of the water for several days.

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