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Entries in snakehead (9)


More Appetizing Name Sought for Snakehead

Clients catch snakeheads as well as bass with guide Steve Chaconas on the Potomac River. Click on the photo to visit his website.

“Snakeheads are considered a good eating fish but who wants to order snakehead for dinner? 

“The Charles County Commissioners invite citizens to participate in a Snakehead Naming Contest. Beginning at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 7, go here and submit ideas for a new and improved name for the snakehead fish . . .

 “The first phase of the Snakehead Naming Contest runs for 30 days from Tuesday, Jan. 7, through Thursday, Feb. 6. At the end of phase one, a panel of judges will select three entries to move forward in the contest.

 “The second phase of the Snakehead Naming Contest begins Tuesday, Feb. 18, and ends Thursday, March 20. During this time, the public will be able to vote online for one of the three selected entries. Prizes will be awarded to three individuals whose entries receive the most votes.

“The final, winning name will be sent to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in hopes that the state will consider the name as the Snakehead’s new, ‘official’ name.”

 From Chesapeake Current


Snakehead is Carrier of LMBV

Scientists have confirmed the presence of Largemouth Bass Virus (LMBV) in northern snakeheads taken from two Potomac River tributaries.

That might seem a positive development for those who view the exotic predator as a threat to bass and other native fish. After all, LMBV killed thousands of bass during the late 1990s and early 2000s; now maybe it will do the same to snakeheads.

But that’s not a foregone conclusion. The virus doesn’t always turn into a deadly disease. As a result, researchers caution that snakeheads simply could be carriers for spreading LMBV to bass throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed, especially since the two share similar habitats.

“The virus has been found in bass, sunfish, and other fish species, but largemouth bass is the only species known to develop disease from it,” reported the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

USGS and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries made the discovery while studying snakeheads for possible pathogens. Until now, little has been known about what diseases this introduced predator might carry and/or be susceptible to.

In 2011, though, researchers found bass with LMBV in all 16 bodies of water tested in Virginia, except the tidal James River.

“The long-term and population-level effects of Largemouth Bass Virus on bass inhabiting these rivers are unknown,” added Luke Iwanowicz, a USGS research biologist.

Meanwhile, efforts to control the spread of snakeheads have been unsuccessful, the USGS pointed out, with scientists predicting they likely will expand their range.


Record Size Burmese Python Killed in Florida

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission photo

Burmese pythons in Florida are going to keep growing and becoming more widespread, as a Miami man confirmed earlier this month. The same story already is playing out with other exotics, as we pay the price for government’s failure to regulate and restrict the import of potentially dangerous and damaging fish, wildlife, and plant species.

Only in the case of Burmese pythons, there’s an increasing risk to human life.

You doubt that?

General wisdom has it that these snakes grow to 17 or 18 feet and can weigh 200 pounds or more. But here’s the thing: These snakes are established in new territory, with none of the variables (climate, disease, predators, etc.) that naturally would inhibit growth and expansion in their native range.

That’s already being shown with silver and bighead carp, as they spread and crowd out native fisheries with their massive numbers. It’s evident with the snakehead. Just a year ago, one of world-record proportions was pulled from the Potomac River.

The python that Jason Leon killed in a rural area of southeast Miami-Dade County measured 18 feet, 8 inches long and weighed 128 pounds, a record for Florida.  That’s already large enough to kill and consume a child or dog.

And these invaders are going to keep growing . . . and spreading . . .

Here’s a report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.



Aquarium Trade Is Source for 1/3 of 'World's Worst Aquatic and Invasive Species'

Bullseye snakehead captured by Florida bioloigsts. FWC photo.

Snakehead, Oscar, Jack Dempsey, Burmese python, iguana, hydrilla, Eurasian watermilfoil.

We have the exotic pet industry and its irresponsible customers to thank for all these troublesome species, as well as many more.

But don’t take my word for it.

"Globally, the aquarium trade has contributed a third of the world's worst aquatic and invasive species," said Sue Williams, an evolution and ecology professor at the University of California, Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory.

Williams also is the lead author of a recent report about the aquarium business in California. Go here to see some of the disturbing evidence.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Herpetoculture Alliance opposes proposed federal legislation --- H.R. 996, Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention act---  that would put controls on the industry and better protect our lands, waters, and native species.

Here are a couple of random examples of what the pet industry has done to our waters:

On Lake Tahoe, researchers looking for invasives scooped up a 4.2-pound goldfish in their trawls.

"During these surveys, we've found a nice corner where there's about 15 other goldfish," environmental scientist Sudeep Chandra of the University of Nevada, Reno, told LiveScience. "It's an indication that they were schooling and spawning."

And in Florida, biologists netted a 14-pound, 3-ounce bullseye snakehead while conducting an electrofishing survey. Had the fish been caught on hook and line, it would have been a world record. 

In reporting on that catch, the Miami Herald says this:

“Gestring said the FWC also considers the bullseye snakehead permanently established in Northwest Broward. Scientists expect they will eventually escape into the Everglades but believe the warm-water species probably wouldn’t survive north of Orlando.

“In the Northwest Broward canal system, they don’t appear to have wreaked ecological havoc, Gestring said. After a decade, there is no sign they’re doing any more damage than 22 other foreign fish that also have settled in Florida’s freshwater canals and lakes.”


Snakeheads Increasingly Popular Among Potomac Anglers

Guide Steve Chaconas helps anglers catch snakeheads in the Potomac River.

In the wake of Juan Duran’s recent catch of a potential world record northern snakehead, here’s an interesting article about the exotic species’ increasing popularity among anglers and how it is co-existing with other species in the Potomac River.

An excerpt:

Steve Chaconas, a bass guide on the Potomac, says he’s seeing more and more people like Duran, who appreciate the snakehead as a game fish worthy of pursuit. Of the 100 to 150 guide trips he makes in a year, 20 or so are now booked by anglers who want to target snakeheads exclusively. 

“They are usually bass fishermen who want a bigger jolt,” Chaconas says. “Bass are no longer exciting for them. Snakeheads are a very powerful fish, and when you hook them they try to back away from you. Catching one is like pulling a dog off a fire hydrant.” 

Warning: Lots of photos illustrate this piece, which is nice, but you have to click 15 times to read the entire story. Too much unnecessary complication for my tastes.