“Frankenfish” caught; Burnaby residents stop shouting “AIEEE!”

Image: Snakehead's mouth with teethA BoB short:

BC’s monster fish has been caught and killed.

Dubbed “Frankenfish,” the two foot long snakehead was first spotted on May 13th in a Burnaby pond. An invasive species native to China, the fish is a so-called “top-level predator” with the hellish potential to destroy entire ecosystems. In 2004, a lake in Maryland had to be completely drained and repopulated in order to cull a snakehead infestation.

“Native species will simply die off at the hands of this northern snakehead,” BC Environment Minister told the CBC. “We have to prevent this fish from coming in and destroying ecosystems here in British Columbia.”

City workers lowered the level of the pond on Friday (though not before one incensed local tried to stop them) and biologists captured the fish with a net. It was later euthanized. “It put up a fight,” said Matthias Herborg, an invasive species expert with the Ministry of Environment. “It took a while to euthanize, it was pretty strong, writhing around.”

The City of Burnaby asked the province to remove other invasive species from the pond as well, such as koi, goldfish, and turtles. “We will take them off site, keep some for analysis and humanely euthanize the rest according to animal-care protocols,” said the Environment Ministry’s Suntanu Dalal.

Besides its rows of fearsome teeth, the snakehead is known for its ability to live outside water for up to three days and move on land, even killing small animals. National Geographic came up with another name for it: “Fishzilla.”

- Emily Olesen

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