First confirmed Snakehead fish caught in Mississippi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

First confirmed Snakehead fish caught in Mississippi

Northern Snakeheads are typically found in shallow, backwater areas and can breathe air, which allows them to survive for extended periods of time out of the water. (Photo source: Wikimedia Commons) Northern Snakeheads are typically found in shallow, backwater areas and can breathe air, which allows them to survive for extended periods of time out of the water. (Photo source: Wikimedia Commons)
BOLIVER COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

This week, two bow fishermen in Boliver County caught the first documented Northern Snakehead Fish in Mississippi. The species is native to China, Russia, and Korea, but have been found in other parts of America. 

Brad Baugh and Bubba Steadman, of Cleveland, MS, were fishing in Lake Whittington, an oxbow lake of the Mississippi River. Officials say the men kept the fish, photographed it, and immediately contacted the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. 

"Snakeheads have been present in the White River Basin in Arkansas since 2008 and have been steadily expanding their range towards the Mississippi River," said MDWFP Delta fisheries biologist Nathan Aycock. "The Mississippi River provides these fish with access to connected oxbows like Lake Whittington as well as the Yazoo and Big Black Rivers."

Established populations of Northern Snakeheads have been found in Arkansas, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. It's not clear yet what impact they may have on native fish populations. 

Northern Snakeheads are typically found in shallow, backwater areas and can breathe air, which allows them to survive for extended periods of time out of the water.

Some people may confuse Northern Snakeheads with the Bowfin, also known as grinnel, which is native to Mississippi. If you think you may have caught a Northern Snakehead, the MDWFP wants to know about it. They ask that you do exactly what the two men in Boliver County did this week: Keep it, take a picture, and call the MDWFP office at (601) 432-2200. 

It's important to note that it's illegal to transport, offer for sale, or possess live snakeheads in Mississippi.

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