"People Just Want to Have a Snakehead"

July 5, 2010 By: Marshall Cutchin

Brinkley, Arkansas would prefer to be known as the likely last refuge for the ivory-billed woodpecker. Instead a B-movie villain has swum into the headlines and caused mass-hysteria, complete with a state program that promised to poison “every gilled animal anywhere in the vicinity of a known snakehead.” And it may have all started with a fish farm.
Sam Eifling’s excellent piece for Miller-McCune relates in detail how local communities have limited choices when it comes to dealing with international invaders.
“Best case? The operation snuffed the snakehead problem completely. [University of Central Arkansas’s Ginny Adams] admitted this was highly unlikely. More likely, the operation depressed snakehead numbers such that they could be contained through standard control methods like spot treatments with poison and local monitoring. ‘The other option is,’ she said, ‘by killing out all the natives, we opened up a huge ecological niche for the snakeheads. And [then] we see a population explosion. That’s the worst-case scenario.’”