THE SNAKEHEAD INCIDENT
"2002, WHEN OUR TOURISM WAS GREAT"
Crofton was in the national news in late June and early July 2002 after a fish called the northern snakehead was discovered in a local pond. The infestation was found in water behind the Crofton post office and the adjacent shopping center, across Route 3 from local landmark Lake Louise.
The snakehead species is highly aggressive and voracious. In order to ensure that the fish were eliminated, in September 2002 the main pond and two nearby ponds were dosed heavily with rotenone and subsequently with potassium permanganate. Six adult snakeheads and more than one thousand juvenile fish were found and destroyed.
Ultimately, the incident initiated a national discussion on invasive species. One comparison case was the mute swan, also an invasive and destructive species of the Chesapeake Bay watershed but, in comparison, quite beautiful, and which garnered support from some environmental and animal rights groups.
Several movies were inspired by this incident. Syfy aired two movies in relation to the snakehead outbreak: in March 2004, a movie called Snakehead Terror was featured, and the movie Frankenfish was aired in June 2004. Ten Pound Films also produced a feature film titled Swarm of the Snakehead which related to this incident. In 2007, a documentary titled Fishzilla: Snakehead Invasion aired on the National Geographic Channel, discussing the ecological damage that the snakeheads found in Crofton have done to surrounding areas.