Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Biologists to Check for Suspected `Frankenfish' after Video Raises Concerns: Biologists Check for Suspected `Frankenfish'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Biologists to Check for Suspected `Frankenfish' after Video Raises Concerns: Biologists Check for Suspected `Frankenfish'

Article excerpt

VANCOUVER - Government biologists will inspect a Burnaby, B.C., pond for a suspected snakehead fish dubbed Frankenfish for its monstrous ability to decimate native species and slither onto dry land.

Matthias Herborg, an invasive species expert with the Environment Ministry, said Wednesday that a YouTube video supposedly taken from a pond at Central Park appears to show a snakehead.

"It definitely looks like a snakehead but it's difficult to tell which species," he said.

Biologists will investigate the reservoir this week to determine if it contains the dangerous northern species of the fish that's native to China and Russia.

"They are very concerned so we're going to get there pretty soon," Herborg said.

"This little creek eventually runs into the Fraser River and them getting into the Fraser, that would be one of our biggest nightmares."

Herborg said it's possible someone dumped the snakehead in the pond from a private aquarium.

"Even if they're contained in this pond, it is a place where people could go and get more snakeheads and maybe people get silly ideas and put them somewhere else."

Biologists may install barrier nets to keep the voracious fish from moving about but the biggest concern is that more than one fish would quickly multiply and spread to nearby waterways and beyond, Herborg said.

Burnaby's parks and recreation director David Ellenwood is concerned the so-called Fishzilla has made it into a pond and wants the issue dealt with as soon as possible.

He said the video that shows the snakehead on the surface of the water appears to be from Lower Pond at Central Park.

Chris Harley, associate professor of zoology at the University of British Columbia and a native of Maryland, said he was stunned to see snakeheads being sold in Asian markets in Vancouver and neighbouring cities.

"I'm getting to know more and more about invasive species regulation and management in Canada and they're really lax," he said of the fish that can gobble up frogs and other small animals. …

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