Walking carnivorous fish discovered in New York lake
August 3, 2005
Authorities fear the worst… invasive species
Authorities have found snakehead fish in New York state for the first time. Five snakeheads were captured in Meadow Lake in the New York borough of Queens during July and officials fear that the fish may be breeding.
Snakeheads are of concern because they are voracious eaters that can rapidly ruin an ecosystem by consuming native species. They are particularly difficult to eradicate due to their ability to breath atmospheric air and “walk” between bodies of water using their pectoral fins.
Snakeheads are naturally found in Asia and Africa where they serve as important food fish. However, in places where they have been introduced — often by aquarium keepers who underestimate their size (up to three feet long) and appetite — they have devastated local species. In the past couple of years fish and wildlife officials have had to drain and poison lakes in Maryland to rid them of snakeheads. Snakeheads are currently found in the waters of at least nine U.S. states — California. Florida, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Hawaii, Rhode Island and now New York, according to fishery biologists.
New York authorities have yet to determine a course of action. Poisoning the lake is under consideration.