Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Northern Snakehead...to loath or respect?
The northern snakehead (Channa argus) is one of many types of snakehead fish native to China, Russia, North Korea, and South Korea. Here in the United States, we consider the fish to be a highly invasive species.
So what does that mean for us? The snakehead is both feared and respected as "invasive" because: 1) it is not from around here; 2) has an ability to spread; and 3) believed to be causing damage to the environment and native fisheries.
As for snakehead they are destroying our native fisheries by eating every fish, insect and amphibian in sight, physically taking up space and aggressively defending areas, and they are reproducing like crazy and spreading very quickly. Since the aquatic ecosystems around here didn't evolve with anything like this, the snakehead are like an NBA player in a pee wee basketball league...and they can really eat and get big! That just ain't fair!
Now they are throughout the Potomac and several other states:
So how do we stop 'em?
There is not much we can do other than keep them from spreading. Ensure no new introductions and try to knock them back as we find them. You can report sightings at the link above and until we find a better way we to try to kill em all.
Here the story, back in 2002 (only 13 years ago) a snakehead was found in a pond in Crofton, Maryland. They drained the pond and found (and killed) two adult and a bunch of babies. Someone later admitted they released two adults into the pond (sigh). In 2004, multiple snakehead were found in the Potomac River and breeding was documented (sigh).
Snakehead can live outside water for several days and young can wiggle across land into new waters.
They are still a popular food item in Asia and much respected for their virtue as snakehead parents are known to sacrifice themselves to protect the babies.
They are listed as injurious wildlife under the Federal law making it a crime to transport them...
They like slow backwater areas and they put up a big fight...I hear they taste good. Be sure to kill if you catch em'