Fifth Northern Snakehead Fish Caught In Potomac River
FT. BELVOIR, VA — Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries Service biologists today collected a northern snakehead in Dogue Creek.
This catch brings the total number of northern snakehead fish caught in the Potomac River since late April to five. Additionally, a single northern snakehead fish was caught in Pine Lake in Wheaton, Maryland on April 26.
Dogue Creek is in Virginia waters of the Potomac opposite Marshall Hall, Md. DNR Fisheries biologists were electrofishing in shallow water with an electrofishing boat close to the shoreline when the 14.5’ fish was caught.
Although the DNR, the Virginia Department of Inland Game and Fisheries and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service are continuing to sample waters for additional northern snakehead fish, both states are also relying on recreational and commercial anglers to catch snakeheads in order to assess the number of fish and the corresponding threat.
Northern snakehead fish are an invasive species and a top-tier predator in the ecosystem. If a population were successfully established, it would disrupt the ecosystem in the Potomac River by displacing native fish and competing for habitat. Northern snakeheads live in shallow vegetated waters and do not tolerate saltwater.
Anglers are asked NOT TO RELEASE a northern snakehead fish, but to kill it humanely with a blow to the head and to get it on ice as quickly as possible. Anglers should report their catches to authorities immediately:
Call the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at 410-260-8320, or toll-free at 1-877-520-8DNR, ext. 8230.
Call the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in state, toll-free at 1-800-770-4951. Out-of-state callers reporting snakehead fish caught in Virginia waters should call directly to 804-367-1258.
To view a fact sheet with a photograph of a northern snakehead fish and illustrations of similar-looking native species, anglers are encouraged to visit the following Web sites:
- Maryland Department of Natural Resources www.dnr.maryland.gov/dnrnews/infocus/snakehead.asp
- Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries www.dgif.virginia.gov
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service http://contaminants.fws.gov
Posted June 3, 2004