June 19, 2011 by staff
Snakehead Fish, An invasive species known as the snakehead exists in the tidal tributaries and the tidal Potomac River. According to a U.S. Geological Survey map, a snakehead was found in 2006 in Dock Marsh Wildlife Preserve in Belle Haven. In 2004, the species became prevalent near the Mason Neck peninsula in the Potomac River. A map is attached to this story of Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries shows that the fish were found.
Fish has been on the list of Virginia predators and undesirable exotic species since 2002. This makes it illegal to possess a snakehead without a permit. Because they are an invasive species, snakeheads can disrupt and compete with the feeding and breeding of native fish and naturalized. Compounded with the ability to transmit parasites, these fish can significantly affect natural aquatic ecosystems of Virginia. The VDGIF is studying the migration, population growth and food habits of fish and their potential impact on our ecosystem.
There are a lot of native species, such as bowfin, lamprey and American eel that resemble the snakehead fish.
The fishermen who believe they have caught a snakehead is asked to report and kill fish, but are not required by law. “However, if a fisherman wants to keep legally caught a northern snakehead,” the VDGIF site says, “the fish must be killed for being in possession, the angler should call the hotline [1 -800-770-4951] and report the name of the fisherman, the date taken, location of catch and size. “
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