Did you know there is a type of fish that you are supposed to kill in New England?

It is true. The fish is called a snakehead.

The snakehead is not common in our area. However, they are confirmed to be in our region. The most recent snakehead caught in our area was in August 2021 in Canton, Massachusetts.

And yes, it was sentenced to death (if you will).

Let's talk about these nasty suckers. A snakehead fish has shiny and razor-sharp teeth. They are common in other parts of the world, but internationally, they are known as an invasive species.

Snakehead Fish Found In Lake Michigan
Getty Images

Because these fish are not native to our area, there are no predators to stabilize them. They become the apex predator in whatever body of water they are in, but it gets worse.

THEY CAN SURVIVE ON LAND. Snakeheads have the ability to wiggle their way onto land and live for up to four days, as long as they remain wet.

According to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website,

Anyone who captures a fish that can be confidently identified as a snakehead should keep the fish, kill it, and report it to MassWildlife by emailing mass.wildlife@mass.gov or calling (508) 389-6300.

This was wild news to me. I have never heard of a fish that you are supposed to kill.

But where are these nasty fish coming from if they are native to Africa and Asia?


Some people have snakehead fish in their personal aquariums. What often happens is that the fish grow bigger than they expected, or start to prey on the other fish in their aquarium.

So fish owners do what they think is the right thing: release them into a bigger body of water for them to "live free."

To be clear, according to the Commonwealth website, this is highly illegal.

The bottom line is that these fish are no good to our area and waters. If you see or catch one, snap a picture, call it in, and kill it.

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