March 19, 2013
Invasive Species: Florida Survey Turns Up Record-Sized Bullseye Snakehead
By Chad Love
A state fisheries biologist conducting an electro-fishing survey in Broward County, Florida was shocked (pun intended) to discover that he had just shocked up what would have been, had he caught it on a rod, an all-tackle world record... bullseye snakehead.
From this story in the Miami Herald:
The moment Kelly Gestring scooped up the strange, slithery fish from a Margate canal he knew he had a record in his net. Gestring, a state biologist who monitors invasive freshwater fish, wasn’t exactly thrilled about it. The 14-pound, three-ounce bullseye snakehead was a member of an exotic family of aggressive, fast-growing, razor-toothed air-gulpers that have earned considerable hype as “Frankenfish” and “Fishzilla” over the years. Impossibly large fictional mutations have even starred in a few schlocky sci-fi movies.
According to the story, if caught with a hook and line, the bullseye snakehead, which is a similar species to that other infamous invasive, the northern snakehead, would have beaten the all-tackle world record by 1.5 pounds, but since the fish was shocked up it obviously doesn’t qualify for the International Game Fish Association record books. Interestingly enough, biologists say the snakehead hasn't seemed to wreak the environmental damage many thought it would. Instead, at least in Florida, the snakehead seems to have settled into a niche, much like the other 22 foreign fish species that now call south Florida's canals and lakes home.