According to the new regulations made by the Pennsylvania Board of Fish and Boat Commissioners, snakeheads, also known as frankenfish, are joining the list of species that may be taken by bowfishing methods in Pennsylvania. As soon as the amendment to the state’s bowfishing regulations can be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, it will be allowed to target frankenfish with bows, crossbows, spears, and gigs.
Reducing the impact of the invasive species on aquatic resources is the underlying reason for permitting bowfishing as a method for harvesting snakeheads. Native to parts of China, Russia, and Korea, frankenfish was first discovered in the mid-Atlantic region in 2002. Two years later, the species was found in Meadow Lake in Philadelphia. In the summer of 2018, anglers began catching snakeheads in Lancaster County’s Octoraro Creek. In the following year, snakeheads began showing up in the Monongahela River near Braddock in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. Due to the fear that snakeheads will compete with native fish species for forage and habitat, Pennsylvania is following in the footsteps of surrounding states by amending the existing regulations in hope of controlling the ecological threat imposed by the invasive snakeheads.