Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Legislator Proposes Lipstick on Frankenfish

 WUSA9, Snakehead no more? New name proposed for invasive fish

What's in a name? Nothing good for the snakehead fish.

But a Maryland state senator recently amended a bill to rename the Northern Snakehead, an invasive species, in hopes of convincing more people to eat them. “Chesapeake Channa” is the latest name some legislators hope will replace the snakehead’s name.

"This bill seeks to encourage consumption of the snakehead and better manage its population by giving the snakehead a new name,” said Southern Maryland Senator Jack Bailey in a hearing supporting his bill.

Bailey’s original proposal called for calling snakeheads “Patuxent Fish."

Which is stupid because they are nowhere near confined to the Patuxent.

That sparked a petition drive in opposition that attracted signatures from people objecting to linking the name of one of Maryland’s most historic and environmentally sensitive rivers to an invasive species from China.

“There's lots of cultural significance and so forth,” said Patuxent Riverkeeper Fred Tutman. “To stigmatize it with an invasive outsider - a fish that doesn't really belong here - that's a little harsh.”

Tutman said “Chesapeake Channa” is a better choice because it relates to the species scientific name Channa Argus and might actually look interesting on a menu.

“I like that! Pass the Channa honey, please pass the Channa," Tutman mused, testing out the proposed name.

Snakeheads continue to expand their range in the Chesapeake region after originally appearing in a Crofton, Maryland pond in 2002.

I'm familiar with several species of snakeheads from my teenage years working in a tropical fish store in L.A. At least one other species has become naturalized in Florida. Let's just keep the name. It's well accepted, and doesn't seem to inhibit anyone from catching and eating them. I can't think of another common sport fish referred to by it's Latin name. 

The Wombat has Rule 5 Monday: Coffee, please ready and waiting at The Other McCain.

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