Dreaded Northern Snakehead found in BC

- June 14th, 2012

snakehead1

The northern snakehead discovered recently in a Burnaby, British Columbia pond is being analysed by Biologists. By all accounts it is the first time this invasive species has been found in Canadian waters.

Researchers are hoping to determine that the fish was an accidental release from someone’s exotic fish tank, although I don’t know why anyone would have a Northern snakehead as a pet.

In case you’re not familiar with these nasty critters, here’s an excerpt taken from my book Weird Facts about Fishing:

 

The northern snakehead is another odd fish
that is native to the Yangtze River in China
where they survive in large numbers. However,
as with many other accidental introductions into
North American waters, they can also be a scary
sight and create substantial damage. The northern
snakehead story in the United States dates back to
the turn of the new millennium where a restaurant
owner from New York City reportedly ordered
some snakeheads to make soup for his restaurant.
Well, that’s when all the trouble started. The
northern snakehead, you see, is a very peculiar
fish in not only its looks but in its ability to breathe
air. These critters can live for several days out of
water and in China are often packaged and
shipped live as they will remain fresh for longer
providing a fresher meal.

It is believed that the New York restaurant
owner received his snakeheads for soup but
found them too cute to eat, so later decided to put
them in his aquarium instead. As the story goes,
his two snakeheads quickly consumed all the
‘feeder fish’ the restaurant owner offered them
and in no time became too large for the aquarium.
It is believed the man then released them into
a pond behind the house where these nativeChinese
fish had their run of all the local pan
fish in the lake, which they made short work of
devouring. As time went on, the snakeheads
reproduced and eventually found their way into
other nearby water systems. They have reportedly
even been caught by anglers in Maryland
and turned into the Department of Natural
Resources for examination.

Because of their ability to breathe air and the fact
that they are extremely resilient, with such a veracious
appetite, the northern snakehead is a real
concern to local waters. Some people call them
the “Jaws” of the new millennium. They are
yet another example of an exotic fish species
accidentally released into non-native waters.
Within a year, it was discovered that the snakeheads
had been found in six other U.S. states.

In 2008 President George W. Bush announced
trade and import bans on 28 snakehead species,
in an attempt to prevent any further spreading. The
northern snakehead is another weird and wonderful
fact in the world of fishing today, though
probably weirder than they are wonderful.

Categories: Strange

Subscribe to the post

6 comments

  1. johan says:

    ugly buggers aren’t they! Given what is at stake here we really need to make some examples of these importers. That is if our government had any balls.

  2. jeff.morrison says:

    Yes Johan, and the fact they can breathe air and crawl across land makes them especially dangerous!

    I researched it and there are actually idiots out there who keep these things as pets(illegally) in large fish tanks, just to watch them devour whatever gets put in the tank..gamefish, small mammals etc….I saw the videos on youtube. There’s one vid of a guy dropping a good-sized bass in the tank and watching the snakehead tear it bits..jerks!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPGmvemG6fk

    As long as people have a sick fascination with these beasts, it’ll be hard to get rid of them!!

    Outdoorsguy

  3. mike jones says:

    all of the morons that let these fish go should be put in a tank with hungry snakeheads and fed to the damn fish

  4. Brad says:

    This really grinds my gears. Another case of importing something that is not native jepordizing our natural species. What a shame. I wonder what would happen if we got caught in China bringing an invasive species to their environment. Canada really needs to step it up when it comes to immigrants and imports from their homelands before it is too late, or is it already to late (look at the Asian carp probelm too).

  5. jeff.morrison says:

    Another story with a weird fish twist:

    http://blogs.canoe.ca/outdoorsguy/strange/quebec-women-in-thailand-poisoned-by-fugu/

    Outdoorsguy

Leave a comment

 characters available