Northern snakehead, an invasive fish, found in Shenandoah River drainage

Northern snakehead, an invasive fish, found in Shenandoah River drainage
Northern snakehead are native to Asia, but have been found in several Virginia waterways. (Source: USGS via Wikipedia)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - An invasive fish found in several parts of Virginia has spread to the Shenandoah River drainage.

Northern snakehead was found in Lake Frederick in Frederick County on May 16, officials with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries announced.

The invasive fish was first found in Virginia in 2004 and is considered a threat to waterways and can transmit diseases and parasites to native species.

Northern snakehead are native to Asia, but have been found in several Virginia waterways.
Northern snakehead are native to Asia, but have been found in several Virginia waterways. (Source: USGS via Wikipedia)

Northern snakehead is native to China, Russia and the Korean peninsula but has been found in Virginia in the Potomac River, Lake Anna, the Rappahannock River, Burke Lake and Lakeview Reservoir. The fish in Lake Frederick is the first confirmed sighting of the fish in the Shenandoah River drainage.

DGIF said the fish is usually introduced into new waterways by people intentionally stocking it, which is illegal in Virginia.

Anyone caught introducing a northern snakehead faces one year in jail, a $2,500 fine or both.

Officials say any northern snakehead that are caught by fisherman should take a photo of the fish and contact DGIF at (804) 367-2925.

DGIF asks anyone who catches a northern snakehead to kill it. Anglers are allowed to keep northern snakehead, provided the fish is dead.

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