Those sci-fi movies depicting snakehead fish of man-eating proportions might not be so far-fetched after all.
Juan Duran recently caught a northern snakehead weighing 18 pounds, 4 ounces in the Occoquan River, a tributary of the Potomac. Current world record for that species is 17-4.
Virginia biologist John Odenkirk says the Potomac system now is home to a healthy population of the exotic predatory fish.
"The numbers of fish out there seem to be increasing, although it was flat last year for the first time since I've been doing surveys and since 2004. So we're not sure if that was an anomaly," he adds.
Meanwhile, Canadians are fearful of snakeheads becoming established in their waters. A man in Burnaby, British Columbia, says that he recently videotaped a snakehead in a park pond as he and his son were feeding fish.
“At first I didn’t know what it was, and as I zoomed in I realized it was a snakehead,” says the man.
“Of all the invasive species I might be worried about for B.C., the snakehead would make the top 10 list,” says Matthias Herborg, an aquatic invasive species expert with the provincial Ministry of Environment.