Electrofishing for Northern Snakehead

Northern Snakehead (Channa argus) is an exotic species of fish (non-native) that threatens to disrupt the marshland ecosystem at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

I think that it is safe to say they are here to stay, after seeing the numbers of fish we removed from the wetland this past summer [2014]. We have to accept that they are here, but we will do our best to manage the populations and keep their influence on our delicate ecosystem as small as possible. Source Credit: David M. Lawlor, Natural Resource Manager, Huntley Meadows Park. Staff Manages Snakehead Threat At Huntley Meadows Park.

On 25 September 2015, Dave Lawlor (shown below, far right) collaborated with a team of staff members from the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services to electrofish for Northern Snakehead in the central wetland area at the park.

Electrofishing for Northern Snakehead (Channa argus) in the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Electrofishing for Northern Snakehead at Huntley Meadows Park.

The process seemed to be all about teamwork: every member performed a role, beginning with the “electroshockers” (see close-up, shown below) working closely with the “herders” and “dip-netters,” and ending with the “collectors.” [Editor’s Note: Words in quotes are my unofficial terms for each of the roles on the electrofishing team.]

Electrofishing for Northern Snakehead (Channa argus) in the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Electrofishing for Northern Snakehead at Huntley Meadows Park.

The following photo shows a relatively large Northern Snakehead netted near the berm. Approximately 25 snakeheads were culled from the wetlands, including several measuring at least 18 inches (18″) in length! The entrails will be examined to collect data about the diet of these predatory fish.

A Northern Snakehead (Channa argus) netted in the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

A Northern Snakehead netted in the central wetland area.

The next photo shows Dave Lawlor (shown left) working closely with one of two “electroshockers” in search of snakeheads hunkered down for cover underneath a fallen log.

Electrofishing for Northern Snakehead (Channa argus) in the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Electrofishing for Northern Snakehead at Huntley Meadows Park.

Coincidentally, an artificial fishing lure was observed along the shoreline not far from the location of the preceding photo. Fishing is not permitted at Huntley Meadows Park. If you see anyone fishing illegally, please call the HMP Visitor Center at 703-768-2525.

An artificial fishing lure spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

An artificial fishing lure.

Related Resources:

Editor’s Note: Mike Powell and I were fortunate to be in the right place when the electrofishing team arrived at the central wetland area; with permission from Dave Lawlor, we enjoyed the extraordinary opportunity to photograph this interesting event. See Mike’s excellent blog post: Snakeheads at Huntley Meadows Park.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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One Response to “Electrofishing for Northern Snakehead”

  1. Snakeheads at Huntley Meadows Park | Mike Powell Says:

    […] and fellow photographer Walter Sanford also captured the action and did a blog posting today called Electrofishing for Northern Snakeheads. Walter included lots of wonderful details about snakeheads in our local area and links to related […]

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