Killer fish invades Orange County lakes

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Lakes and ponds around Orange County are reportedly invaded by a predator - the snakehead fish that eats everything in its path.William Thompson recalls his youngest granddaughter catching a 30-inch northern snakehead fish with her Scooby Doo pole in a pond on his Wawayanda property last year.

Only later Thompson discovered how harmful is the species he was dealing with.

Last month, Thompson found another snakehead in his pond. He sent its photo to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and it was confirmed.

The DEC told Thompson to get rid of the invasive fish as quickly as possible because if they find their way into a lake or pond, they take over and kill every other fish in five to 10 years.

The snakehead, native to Asia, doesn't pose a threat to human health or safety, but it has the potential to eradicate the local fish population. The species were also reportedly spotted at Ridgebury Lake.

"They?re a predator, they breed several times a year and they grow to be about 3 feet long, all of which leads to a concern," says John Razzano, Wawayanda town supervisor.

The northern snakehead fish can also live out of water, move on land like a snake and breathe air for several days.

The DEC is working to contain its spread by erecting temporary fish barriers in local bodies of waters. It is also considering the possibility of treating infested waters with aquatic pesticide.

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