Snakehead fish are considered an invasive species because their introduction into an environment leads to their dominating the ecosystem. In particular, their rapid breeding and voracious appetites would put other species at risk. It then should come as no surprise that when a single snakehead fish measuring 75 cm (~29.5 inches) was caught in a lagoon at Burnaby's Central Park in the spring of 2012, authorities were greatly alarmed.
However, biologists from Simon Fraser University along with other researchers have studied the predicament ad nauseam and concluded that it was a lone fish released in the lagoon. They believe the human culprit who released the fish was quite possibly an aquarium owner who did so after being unable to deal with the fish's insatiable appetite to feed off neighboring fish.
"If there had been a pair of northern snakeheads and they had been introduced somewhere in the Fraser River, they could have proliferated and became established and had consequences for our native fish populations - which are invaluable both ecologically and economically," according to SFU masters student and lead author David Scott.
"It could have been a lot worse, that's for sure."
This particular fish was a sub-tropical variation which they believe does not possess the ability to survive the intense Canadian winter. Had the snake been the northern variation and had a mate, a release into a major waterway such as the Fraser River would have led to the fish becoming dominant and would adversely affect the ecology. There are species of fish in Canada that are very important to the ecology whose existence would be threatened by such a predatory species.
On The Web:
Snakehead likely dumped alone: study Invasive fish probably would not have survived the winter