Invasive snakeheads found in Delaware pond

The highly aggressive, predatory fish, known as invasive northern snakeheads, have been found in Becks Pond in Bear, one of Delaware’s most popular fishing ponds.

And now DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section is asking for the public’s help, seeking information that would lead to a suspect or suspects who placed the fish in the pond. State and federal law prohibits possession of the species, known to impact other fish, amphibians and invertebrates.

“We believe these fish were illegally introduced into Becks Pond, and we are actively seeking the party or parties responsible,” Sgt. Gregory Rhodes said.

Last week, officers say a New Castle County teen kayaking in the pond was bitten by a snakehead, while trying to capture some of its young.

“Snakeheads are known for aggressively protecting their young,” said Fisheries Biologist Stewart Michels, warning anyone fishing in the pond to avoid attempting to capture schools of small fish.

Surveying the pond earlier this week, DNREC fisheries biologists say they captured one 25-inch adult snakehead, along with several hundred juveniles. Biologists say they also spotted two more adult snakeheads and suspect more are making themselves at home in the pond known to fishermen for its bass, crappie and bluegill.

Anyone with information connected to the investigation is asked to call Sgt. Rhodes, Fish and Wildlife Enforcement, at 302-542-6102, or call Enforcement dispatch at 302-739-4580.

Meantime, the Fisheries Section asks that any possible snakehead catches in Becks Pond or other Delaware waters be reported by calling 302-739-9914. Photos may be sent to catherine.martin@state.de.us. Snakeheads should not be released back into the water, but should be killed or frozen.

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