June 8, 2012
'Frankenfish' caught in B.C. pond
By QMI Agency
VANCOUVER — B.C.'s environment ministry confirmed Friday it had caught the elusive "Frankenfish" that's been inhabiting the waters of the Central Park pond in Burnaby.
Ministry and municipal staff captured the predator Friday. It will be destroyed.
The search for the northern snakehead — an invasive species that gobbles up native fish and small mammals — has captured headlines for weeks. A video posted to YouTube on May 14 seemed to confirm the monster fish's existence, but earlier attempts by officials to find and catch it proved unsuccessful.
Experts feared it could escape the park pond and reproduce quickly, posing a threat to fish stocks and to the ecosystem in general.
"The risk posed by snakeheads is very real," the federal department of fisheries and oceans says on its website. "They can even live out of the water for a time — to pursue their prey or find a new home if the former one dries up. They survive winter under the ice of northern lakes; some have even recovered from being frozen. It is a voracious predator, and it grows rapidly to an adult length of 1.5 metres or more."
Officials prepared for the search by partially draining the pond on Wednesday and Thursday to lower the water level and concentrate all the aquatic creatures in a smaller area.
The plan Friday was to use nets to draw out "all non-native species" and identify the invasive ones. Some will be taken to study, while others will be destroyed.
"The City of Burnaby hopes to restock the pond afterwards with native species, so they have asked the team to assess what they find from the pond and remove any non-native species as they feel is warranted," a ministry spokesman said.
A May 23 pond sample found goldfish, carp, fathead minnows, bullheads, bullfrog tadpoles and turtles — all non-native species.