ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Snakeheads are on the move.  Also called frankenfish, the nasty looking invasive species has turned up in a new location.

Adam May reports on their serious environmental impact.

When biologists decided to sample fish in the Rhode River south of Annapolis, they discovered a large, 23-inch snakehead, an invasive species from Asia, never spotted in the area before.

“They’re on the move,” said Don Kosden, DNR.

Maryland’s Chief of Inland Fisheries says the snakeheads are tougher than originally thought, able to travel in salty waters in search of new homes.

“It appears they can navigate through higher salinity rivers, then find their way to fresh water areas,” said Kosden.

Around 60 snakeheads have been reported in Maryland.  Jim Scritchfield caught one of the first almost a decade ago.

“And he was in the net and he bit the net, put his head through the net and tried to bite me so I hit his head with the net,” Scritchfield said.

With populations expanding, it’s predicted snakeheads will move north of the Bay Bridge, closer to the Baltimore area.  They compete with striped bass and perch for habitat and food, eating each other’s young.

“We haven’t measured impacts to the other populations yet, but undoubtedly it’s occurred,” Kosden said.

And in this underwater war for turf, odds are the snakehead will win.

The DNR only has one restriction when it comes to fishing for snakeheads: you have to kill them.  And yes, they’re edible.

If you catch a snakehead, you’re asked to report it to the Department of Natural Resources.

Comments (6)
  1. David Jaffa says:

    I don’t care how much it costs or what has to be done. The snakeheads must not get to the bay. They may even be there. Governor, move now, don’t wait for more data. Now is the time to save the Chesapeake.

  2. If they’re already in the Rhode River after first being reported in Crofton, they’re already in the bay. If you catch one, just kill it.

  3. erica smith says:

    i caught one of those things about ten years ago in the severn river. We were crabing with small traps and pulled one up. They are ugly and mean. We were asked back then(if everyone remembers)to report it if one wars caught, and i did. Why now, almost a decade later, are we just hearing about them again? Shouldn’t some sort of action have been taken sooner? Not only is our watershed at risk, but what about peoples children who enjoy our waters in the summer. Something needs to be done, and now! Saying to kill them if you see or catch them is not enough. If they are growing to be that big, and they are aggressive, the average person isn’t going to want to get near them. I think we deserve some answers, i’m listening…?

    1. Elvis says:

      Erica… Your chances of being attacked by a shark, snake, or alligator are far greater. Your children are fine, the sky isn’t falling.

      The only reason it’s an issue now, is because the government pulled their heads out of their butts and realized that fishing brings in more money than any other sport in the US. Billions of dollars they’re trying to protect now. At first, it was a fish in some water that people didn’t like. Now it’s damage to corporate company’s wallet. Which they vote in favor of.

      So, they feed you a bunch of BS like the sky is falling and they’ll eat your children in 1 bite. I swim in Florida waters daily, you should see how chewed up I am oh my gosh! But I can’t stop!

  4. fish says:

    Just go look at Maryland Fishing report people are catching snake heads every single day

  5. muaTa says:

    i hope those ugly fish do not make it here to california… they need to be stopped now…has any ever been found in california, yet? how far west have they been found?

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