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Snakehead Fish

Snakehead vs. Bowfin

Recent reports from Maryland and Virginia on the presence of snakehead fish in their waters are cause for concern for West Virginia. Snakeheads have not been collected by our fisheries staff, or reported caught by anglers in West Virginia waters, but they have been found in a pet shop and in a home aquarium. We are concerned that these and other invasive aquatic species could become established in West Virginia and cause significant harm to our aquatic environments, particularly sport fish populations.

Please do not release the fish if you think that it may be a snakehead. Snakeheads have been added to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's injurious wildlife list (Current Injurious Wildlife Species List ). Under this regulation, the importation into the United States and transportation across state lines are illegal . Additionally, West Virginia state law regulates the release of fish and other aquatic organisms into waters of the state.

Invasive aquatic species are an increasing threat to aquatic ecosystems across the country. Introductions of invasive zebra mussels and round gobies have had impacts on sport fishing in Lake Erie , and some species of Asian carp are threatening the Great Lakes as well. Recreational impacts and economic costs associated with invasive species can be substantial if invasive species do become a problem. Control measures usually are very expensive and difficult to implement. Informing anglers of these threats is important because they are our best first line of defense to guard against invasive species. Please use the following links to learn more about the snakehead fish in surrounding states and what is being done to control them. There are also links to learn more about other invasive species below.

Baby Snakehead Fish Snakehead Giant Fish Snakehead Giant Fish Snakehead Fish Snakehead Fish

Anglers who think that they may have caught a snakehead are asked to contact our district fisheries biologists or conservation officers.

Main Office
Mark Scott,
Fisheries Management
324 Fourth Ave
South Charleston, WV 25303

Operations Center
Jim Hedrick,
Trout Management
Ward Road, P.O. Box 67
Elkins,WV 26241
(304) 637-0245
District I
Dave Wellman,
Fisheries Management
James Plaza 1110 Railroad St
Farmington, WV 26571-0099
(304) 825-6787
District II
Brandon Keplinger,
Fisheries Management
1 Depot Street
Romney,WV 26757-1400
(304) 822-3551
District III
James Walker,
Fisheries Management
WV State Wildlife Center
P.O. Box 38
French Creek,WV 26218-0038
(304) 924-6211
District IV
Bob Knight, Acting,
Fisheries Management
2006 Robert C. Byrd Drive
Beckley,WV 25801-8320
(304) 256-6947
District V
Jeff Hansburger,
Fisheries Management
Forks of Coal State Natural Area
50 Rocky Branch Road
Alum Creek, WV 25003
(304) 756-1023
District VI
Nate Taylor, Acting,
Fisheries Management
2311 Ohio Avenue
Parkersburg,WV 26101-2559
(304) 420-4550


Related Links:
Aquatic Nuisance Species Taskforce
US Fish & Wildlife Service
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries

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