Water, Earth, Sky

Scott Shenk writes about the environment.

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Snakeheads: Eat ‘em into submission?

Here’s Caleb Newton, posing with his world-record northern snakehead in June.

With the Potomac River and its tributaries being the epicenter of the invasive northern snakehead fish presence, they’ve been getting a lot of attention from biologists, anglers, bow fishers, and of course, the global media, which love a good fish story. Everyone knows they (the snakeheads) taste good, and the BBC in this video poses the question: Can they be eaten out of existence? Probably not, but lots of people here are trying hard.

The fish run from a few pounds to well north of 15 pounds, and the white, sweet and flaky meat is pretty darned good, those who have had it grilled, fried and fricasseed, tell me. Caleb Newton of Spotsylvania County caught a world record fish, 17 pounds, 6 ounces, in Aquia Creek in June. There will be plenty of  snakeheads around: since they showed up in the Potomac around Mount Vernon in 2004, they’ve gone down river, into the Chesapeake Bay, and up the Rappahannock and other nearby main stem rivers, biologists say.

John Odenkirk, a fisheries biologist and snakehead expert with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ Fredericksburg office, says it’s only a matter of time before someone catches a “Frankenfish” off City Dock in Fredericksburg. Prepare to fire up the grills, and fight the tasty scourge.

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