fish hands Northern Snakehead
Snakehead Derby a Way to Remove an Invasive Species

by Honora Johnston

Invasive species are a problem when they thrive in their new environment. They drive out native species in the area, plants and animals alike. This causes a whole disruption to the natural ecosystem and can affect humans in this way as well.

On Saturday, June 3rd, the Snakehead Derby was held, and anyone in the state was allowed to fish, even without a fishing license. [1] This way, there’s more people to help out, so hopefully more snakeheads are caught.

There are two sides to this event, however. Some believe this is a positive event to help the ecosystem, but others are more hesitant to support the derby. Killing animals is frowned upon in general; however the snakeheads are causing harm to their environment by eating almost any fish.

“They destroy the natural ecosystem. It’s necessary to get rid of them and killing is the only realistic option,” said junior Madison Ropp. There is no place to send these fish. They can’t be sent back to their native area, because those populations may not be able to support so many anymore. Freshman Ben Hartman said, “It depends on how you look at it, I guess. You could try keeping them as pets to stop the killing maybe.”

Junior Kalil Alexander commented, “It’s cutting down an invasive species that kills the natives. Due to the derby, the native populations are coming back.” Alexander did a project on the species for AP Environmental Science, so he understands some of the impacts they are having.

“They’re not supposed to be there, so the derby is okay,” commented junior Ian Marron.

Students at Walkersville High School, in general, showed a positive opinion of the Snakehead Derby. The Chesapeake Bay Watershed is an important environmental topic in Maryland, so hearing that the rivers are being affected makes them want a solution to the problem.