Invasive Species: LDWF verifies Northern Snakehead fish in Concordia Parish

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LDWF has confirmed that two Northern Snakehead fish, native to Asia, were observed in a video that was taken in Old River in Concordia Parish. Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator Rob Bourgeois says they could impact our native fisheries.

“Like with most invasive species, they compete with our native species for resources. Whether that’s nesting, habitat, food resources, or even direct predation of our native fishes and so that’s the concern.”

Northern Snakeheads closely resemble Louisiana’s native Bowfin species. They were originally released into the wild through fish markets and aquarium trade. Bourgeois says they likely migrated from Mississippi or Arkansas.

“Arkansas has been having them for a while; ten to fifteen years now. These guys made their way to the Mississippi River. They crossed over in the Mississippi a few years ago and so more than likely they kinda’ swam downstream in the river and that’s downstream of where they were at.”

The name comes from the enlarged scales that cover the head and they can grow up to 3 feet in length. Bourgeois says they are safe to eat.

“They’re thought to be pretty good table fare in Asia and in Virginia. Maryland is another population and people have eaten them there too.”

Bourgeois urges fishers not to return the species to the water. It is illegal to possess, sell or transport live snakeheads in Louisiana. To showcase your catch, call 225-765-3977.

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