Has the snakehead fish invaded Central Park? - KMSP-TV

Has the snakehead fish invaded Central Park?

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Officials are asking visitors -- especially anglers -- to watch out for the northern snakehead fish in the Harlem Meer. The aggressive fish can destroy the ecosystem.

A local fisherman named Miro Zic said he caught a 6-pound northern snakehead in the Harlem Meer last October. The state's Department of Environmental Conservation said that catch wasn't confirmed, but a snakehead was found in the meer in 2008.

The DEC is asking fishermen who catch one give the department a call immediately and to not release the fish back into the water. In fact, anglers are asked to kill the fish, freeze it, and then report the catch.

The DEC conducted a routine survey of the Harlem Meer Tuesday night after dark, although officials said they're not specifically looking for the snakehead fish.

The fish is native to China, Russiam and Korea. It can breath air and survive on land in moist conditions for several days if it needs to.

Jim Breheny, the director of the Bronx Zoo, said that when non-native predatory fish are released into local waters they compete with native species and also kill local wildlife. That is what has been happening with the snakehead in waters along the East Coast of the United States.

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