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Anglers asked to kill invasive fish that can live outside the water

The Missouri Department of Conservation reported that the second northern snakehead was caught in May.
An image of a northern snakehead.
Posted at 2:47 PM, Jun 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-20 14:47:52-04

An invasive fish is generating concern in Missouri. 

The state's Department of Conservation reported that the second northern snakehead was caught last month. The first encounter with a northern snakehead in Missouri occurred in 2019.

The fish is native to Asia and there's concern it could disrupt the ecosystem. 

"They’re aggressive predators, preying on native species and competing for resources," the Missouri Department of Conservation said in a statement. 

Wildlife experts reportedly searched the Duck Creek Conservation Area, where the latest fish was found, but were unable to locate any others. State officials believe there are more of the species in the area, but in very low numbers.

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"The northern snakehead was discovered in eastern Arkansas waterways in 2008," state officials said. "Since then, its distribution has been expanding, spreading north through the waters of the St. Francis River watershed."

Anglers who come across the fish are given specific instructions about what to do with it, since it can live outside of the water. 

"Kill the fish by severing the head or gutting it," the Missouri Department of Conservation says.

Wildlife experts caution, however, that anglers should make sure they are actually killing northern snakeheads. They apparently can be confused for the native bowfin. 

People can report sightings of the northern snakehead to the Missouri Department of Conservation's Southeast Regional office at 573-290-5858.

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