Snakehead fish caught
in Burnham Harbor
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[NOV. 6, 2004]
SPRINGFIELD -- In a
joint effort by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Army Corps of
Engineers and the city of Chicago, a team of fisheries biologists conducted
electrofishing and net sampling surveys of fish in Burnham Harbor in
downtown Chicago, where a northern snakehead was caught by a shore angler on
Oct. 9. The sampling was implemented to determine if additional northern
snakeheads are present in the harbor. Results from the surveys conducted
Oct. 19 and 22 found no additional snakehead fish.
“The possession and release of snakehead fish
is prohibited because of the dangers posed to native fish and other
aquatic species in Illinois and throughout the U.S.,” said Joel
Brunsvold, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
“The angler who caught this fish did the right thing by keeping,
reporting and providing this fish for analysis.”
In 2002, snakehead fish were added to the list
of injurious species in Illinois, banning their importation,
possession and release in the state. The threat of the snakehead is
significant, given its voracious appetite, the ability to live in or
out of water, and its potential for causing damage to native fish
Any angler catching a snakehead is urged to
keep the fish and transport it to an office of the Department of
Natural Resources or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The public is
also asked not to release into the waters of the state any fish,
plants or invertebrates that have been purchased or traded as bait,
live food, or for aquaria and water gardens.
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Department of Environment is asking Chicagoans who possess live
snakeheads to call 311, the city's non-emergency number. The city of
Chicago will assist residents who are attempting to discard
snakeheads they may knowingly or unknowingly possess. Larry Merritt,
public information officer for the Chicago Department of
Environment, can be contacted at (312) 744-5716.
Anyone with a snakehead fish or anglers who
catch a snakehead should immediately contact the Illinois Department
of Natural Resources at (847) 294-4134. Information on aquatic
nuisance species can be found on the Illinois Aquatic Nuisance
Species website at
by clicking there on the “Hot Topics” link.
The chart below provides information for
identifying snakehead fish in comparison with common Illinois species.
Department of Natural Resources news release]