Skull & Shackles
A bounty is a government-issued reward placed on an individual and awarded to whoever can apprehend or kill that person.
Normally, a bounty is issued by a government or other legal official in order to entice others into aiding in the capture of the criminal so they can be brought to justice quickly. Bounty Hunters make careers trying to find and capture these wanted people. Bounties are issued with a “Dead or Alive” disclaimer, meaning the reward will be paid so long as the threat gets eliminated, but bounties are usually only paid in full if the criminal is captured alive; up to 30% of the bounty money may be lost by bringing in someone dead, since no public execution can be held.
The amount of a bounty is determined in response to the perceived threat level of the criminal in question; the greater the threat to the world, the greater the bounty. In the eyes of a pirate, high bounties are thus usually seen as a sign of strength. After all, having been assigned a bounty means that someone in the government or navy acknowledge the threat of the person to whom it is assigned.