CANTON, MA – On August 27, an angler caught a northern snakehead from Reservoir Pond in Canton. After getting and analyzing the specimen, MassWildlife verified this fish was a snakehead, an invasive species in Massachusetts that is indigenous to components of Asia and Africa.
The angler’s title is Michael Powell. He was fishing in the pond when he caught the exceptional species, which has a significant mouth and shiny enamel and has the ability to wriggle onto land. It is a freshwater fish that has the capacity to breathe onland for days as it lookups for food items.
This fish was most very likely produced by a pet operator when it grew as well huge for its aquarium, according to Todd Richards, Assistant Director of Fisheries at MassWildlife.
“Possession and liberation of snakeheads are both of those illegal in Massachusetts,” he reported. “Transferring exotic fish into area waterways can bring about a host of troubles, like level of competition with indigenous species and unfold of condition.”
This modern capture is the fifth verified snakehead documented in Massachusetts considering the fact that 2002, according to a push launch. All snakeheads identified in Massachusetts have been adults, and MassWildlife has found no proof of replica at any of the areas where the snakeheads were caught.
Through its regime fisheries sampling perform, MassWildlife has frequented extra than 7,900 locations statewide, documenting about 950,000 fish data considering that 1998, and has not captured any other snakeheads.
“Although we are fortuitous that snakeheads have not taken keep right here in Massachusetts, this new discovery highlights the want to concentrate on monitoring, education, and enforcement initiatives to stop the introductions of exotic species,” mentioned Richards.
Dwell fish may possibly not be transported in Massachusetts without having a allow, and liberation of all fish, which include aquarium trade fish, into the wild in Massachusetts is prohibited without a allow from MassWildlife.
One worry is that, if snakehead fish reproduce, they can damage the regional fish habitat. The species has been identified as a significant element of the fish local community as a leading predator, as it has been in other states this sort of as Maryland.
Massachusetts anglers have played an crucial part in reporting snakeheads and other non-native species like piranha, pacu, and other escapees of the aquarium trade and illegal exotic introductions, according to MassWildlife. Snakeheads will go just after bait and lures, and with approximately 200,000 anglers out on the h2o, the truth that so several have been caught in the Commonwealth is reassuring.
Anglers may perhaps confuse snakeheads with other indigenous species like bowfin. Any individual who captures a fish that can be confidently identified as a snakehead ought to continue to keep the fish, eliminate it, and report it to MassWildlife by emailing [email protected] or contacting (508) 389-6300.
MassWildlife encourages anglers who are fewer specific about the species of fish they have caught to send out photos showing numerous angles of the fish. Below no circumstance should really a suspected snakehead be transported to another area until finally identification is confirmed.