In their study the authors note, in eastern United States' Potomac River "fisheries managers predict that continued uncontrolled range expansion of the northern snakehead population could lead to up to a 35 % population reduction of a valuable largemouth bass"
"The prospect of a snakehead population becoming established in B.C. waters is a very scary thought," says David Scott, this study's lead author. He is also an SFU School of Resource and Environmental Management (REM) master's student.
"For example, if a pair of northern snakeheads had been released into the pond, the two could have reproduced and spread relatively quickly. The pond is located within the Fraser River watershed; thus it could have led to further spread with negative consequences for one of the most productive salmon producing rivers in North America."
The authors worry that, as is happening elsewhere, the B.C. government's amendment to the Wildlife Act to ban possession, transport and breeding of all snakeheads following the Burnaby find won't completely prevent another invasion.
"There is still the threat of snakehead introduction via illegal possession and trade," says Jonathan Moore, the other SFU author. The assistant biology/REM professor and Liber Ero Chair of Coastal Science and Management is also Scott's master's thesis supervisor.
"Snakehead introductions have continued in the U.S., even though possession has been illegal for more than a decade. Given this threat, continued monitoring, public education and rapid response planning are warranted. The public must be made aware of the serious negative ecological and economic consequences associated with the release of any non-native species of fish."
|Contact: Carol Thorbes|
Simon Fraser University