The elusive snakehead fish was captured and killed at Burnaby's Central Park pond Friday morning.
The City of Burnaby's Melinda Yong said the snakehead was taken to Simon Fraser University for analysis, to figure out how long it had been in the pond and if it had bred.
Snakeheads are an invasive species and a voracious predator. They can breathe air and wriggle on land, travelling from one body of water to another.
Yong was relieved the fish had been captured.
"That's the reason we're out here," she said. "The reason we've cooperated with the ministry (of environment) is to protect B.C. waters and the environment from this invasive species."
The city drained a substantial amount of water from the pond to lower the levels so it would be easier for government staff to remove the fish.
The City of Burnaby's Chris Ensing was on site when the fish was captured. She said government staff had sectioned off the pond and were dragging a net through the area where the snakehead had been seen. They caught some fish but not the snakehead. Then someone spotted it, grabbed a net and scooped it up, to the applause of onlookers. The fish was confirmed to be a snakehead and appeared to be about two feet long.
Central Park's lower pond is a man-made body of water. Snakeheads are sold for food and as pets, so it's likely someone dumped it there. On Friday afternoon at roughly 2 p.m., only one snakehead had been caught. The rest of the pond's invasive species, like koi and carp, were being removed for euthanization. The city hopes to restock the pond with natural species.
Val Lofvendahl of Reptile Rescue, Adoption & Education Society said government staff had agreed to hand over any non-native turtles they find, so she can take care of them. Lofvendahl wanted to take the koi, too, but government staff were not allowing anyone in the pond.
Yong said the koi and carp are resilient fish and that the city left enough water in the pond so they wouldn't be stressed. The fish can also carry bacteria and viruses, she added.
Burnaby resident Rod Gonzales first captured the snakehead on video on Mother's Day, sparking a frenzy of media stories. Gonzales was also at the pond Friday.
"It's a good thing that they caught it," he said. "I figure there's only one in there."
Bruce Causier, a local amateur wildlife videographer, was on scene for the capture.
"It was big," he said. "It looked like a good two feet, and it was thick. It was eating (well). Hopefully, it was the only one in there."
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