I don't know if anyone has watched a show on Animal Plant called River Monster. "In River Monsters, extreme angler Jeremy Wade uncovers the world's largest, strangest and most dangerous fish."
EPISODE (S2): KILLER SNAKEHEAD
"Angler Jeremy Wade sets his sights on an aggressive Far Eastern predator that's now invading America's backyards. Accused of homicide, and said to breathe air and crawl on land, the snakehead is a monster that sounds more like a gangster than a fish." For more information about the series and this episode: River Monsters with Jeremy Wade
Photos of Northern Snakeheads:
Source is: WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife with
Photo used from http://snakehead_fish.tripod.com/
Source is: River Valley Nuisance Wildlife Control
Photographer not listed
Native to Asia, Russia and Korea, this fish is popular in the Asian food market and most introductions were likely released for this purpose. This was the case in the founding individuals of the Crofton pond population in Maryland. It's rather unfortunate that individuals would release fish or animals with such disregard. In Chinese medicine the fish is used to make a soup for those who have recently undergone surgery (speeds up healing).
There are several species of this fish and from what I gather, the Northern Snakehead is of particular concern due to it's ability to live outside of water for a few days. In muddy or swampy type situations, they can use their front fins to propel themselves along, much like a snake. This particular species can grow to approximately 33 inches.
What's interesting is that they have turned up in various non-contiguous states across the country. So far Alaska has yet to be affected. I cannot begin to imagine the devastation this fish could cause in the western rivers. (i.e. salmon population). It rains in Puget Sound quite a bit from fall until spring, making for muddy conditions.
Map of US where Northern Snakehead have been found:
Source: USGS - Northern Snakehead
I'm from New Jersey and I recently read the snakeheads have made their way into the Delaware River. They've been using rotenone in creeks, ditches and backwater. I think this kills all fish. According to the USGS, "the species is well established in the Potomac River". Perhaps Kat would be able to comment on this.
If you like fishing, I think you'll enjoy it! Catch it on Animal Planet, Sunday nights at 10PM e/p.