Casey Pushes for Support to Eradicate Northern Snakehead from PA Waters

Invasive Fish Threatens PA’s $1.6 Billion Fishing Industry

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today urged the Department of the Interior to respond to the spread of the northern snakehead fish in Pennsylvania. The invasive fish, a predator with few natural enemies that could damage Pennsylvania’s fishing industry, was recently found in the John Heinz National Wildlife Memorial at Tinicum, Delaware County.

“Pennsylvania’s fishermen and those that rely on the economic footprint of the fishing industry expect and deserve quick action to contain this invasive fish,” said Senator Casey. “I urge the Department of the Interior to provide immediate assistance to eradicate this threat to Pennsylvania’s waterways and a vital industry.”

The northern snakehead is an invasive fish from Africa and Asia that has sharp teeth, a voracious appetite and can even survive on land for periods of time. The snakehead devours native aquatic animals and could threaten Pennsylvania’s fishing industry, which has an annual economic impact of $1.6 billion, if it spreads to different waterways.

In a letter to the Department of the Interior, Senator Casey urged the agency to immediately support the appropriate state and local entities in efforts to contain and eradicate the northern snakehead from Pennsylvania’s waterways.

Last fall, Senator Casey urged the Department of Homeland Security to step up agriculture inspections to prevent invasive species from entering the country following a report that such inspections have dropped dramatically in the past decade.

In his letter today to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Senator Casey wrote, “The Department of Interior has previously taken action to address the threat of invasive species, yet more must be done.  With the species being spotted in new areas, it is time to strengthen efforts.”


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