Uh, oh... in a pond in Crofton, Maryland (just a hop, skip and a fishy wiggle down the road from me) a non-native Chinese fish species, the northern snakehead, has reproduced. Eight young were caught in a local pond/small lake today. This is in an area that drains into the Patuxent River Basin. A few weeks ago someone caught a snakehead in the pond and then released it after taking a picture. Fish and Wildlife folks were alerted and for weeks it was thought there was only one loose in there and a great campaign to catch it and kill it was started. Then a snakehead 8 inches smaller was caught, and now BABIES!!!!

Why is this so bad? Snakeheads grow much bigger than our native fish and they eat everything. They can clear a body of water of all animal life then just stroll to the next body of water. Oh yeah, this fish walks on land! It can live out of water for at least three days.

Is there only one type of fish in China? Maybe not; but is there much variety of plant life along I-95 south of Maryland? Not really...there used to be dogwood and daisies and butterfly weed! Now, there is Kudzu.

This is really scary. There is no natural predator for this fish in Maryland. We have some nice water life here. Much of it is unique. The Patuxent River is entirely within Maryland. It is a major part of our state's history plus our current economy and recreation. We want to keep our native species of animal life. Presently the state authorities are trying to electrocute the entire pond. There are "wanted posters" instructing people to "kill this fish". Also jokes about "Frankenfish" abound.

This fish is sold alive in some fish markets and is also kept by some as a pet in aquariums. Unlike kudzu this "introduction" may have been accidental. Some kind but ignorant soul may have "saved" a "poor fish" by releasing it into the pond. Either way, non native, invasive, and aggressive life forms should not be released. Oh my. Some fool may have done it on purpose. Either way ... this is not good.

They are treating the pond with rotenone and Roundup, which are toxic to all fish and plant life in the hope of killing the snakeheads without doing too much other environmental damage.

"Predicting Invasions of Nonindigenous Plants and Plant Pests" is a very interesting book available free online at http://www.nap.edu/index; published by the National Academy Press.

The piscicide was applied in August and more than 1000 young and 6 full grown Northern Snakeheads were killed along with all other plant and animal life in the pond.

This story apparently started when a man purchased the fish to make an ethnic soup for a sick relation. I don't know if he had excess fish or the relation no longer needed the soup but he released the fish into the Crofton pond. Because of their ability to breath air, these fish are kept alive in the Asian fish markets.

Maryland and Virginia officials "are considering new regulations that would ban the possession or sale of the voracious snakehead fish in the state and give natural resource officials the authority to act quickly when any alien species turns up."

PRIME SOURCE and source of quote:
www.washingtonpost.com and the paper versions delivered to my driveway daily...
late addition, so not really a source but cool photo:

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