Are you ready for the invasion of the snakehead?

On May 19, 2023, a fisherman caught a snakehead fish in the Duck Creek Conservation Area, located in Wayne County, Missouri.   

Three years earlier, another snakehead fish had been caught in Missouri; this time in Dunklin County. Both snakehead fish were found in the St. Francis River watershed.   

Shortly after the second snakehead was caught, the Missouri Department of Conservation issued a bulletin regarding snakehead fish, advising fishermen to be on the lookout for them and to immediately kill them rather than releasing them back into the water or even tossing them alive into the brush.

Northern snakeheads are invasive fish that disrupt our native aquatic ecosystems. If you catch one or find one in your area, please keep the fish and contact MDC.

There is a reason for this bulletin. The snakehead fish is a very invasive and destructive fish. 

Although the snakehead has been in existence for 50 million years, according to some experts, the snakehead did not arrive in the US until about 20 years ago, when they were being touted as “interesting” aquarium fish because of their appearance and their aggressiveness as demonstrated as they splashed around in the fishbowl devouring other fish unluckily enough to be stuck in the same bowl.   

Bill Hoagland

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