A county in Maryland in the US wants the snakehead to get a new name and is running a competition to see who can come up with the best alternative, in the hope that it will be accepted by the Department of Natural Resources.
These problem predators, thought to have been introduced into US waterways through Asian seafood merchants, are actually rather good to eat. But commissioners think their name is putting people off dining on them — after all, who wants to order something called a snakehead for dinner? It's hoped that a new name might make them sound more appetising.
Dubbed "the fish from hell", the Northern snakehead (Channa argus) has also been given the name "Fishzilla" by National Geographic.
The invasive species, which can reach 1m/40" or more, is native to China, Russia, North Korea and South Korea but has spread rapidly, devastating the country's ecosystems.
The competition to find a new name for the snakehead runs on the Charles County website until February 6, 2014. A panel of judges will select the top three submissions from the entries, and then the public will be able to vote online for the overall winning name, which will be submitted to the State of Maryland in the hope that it will be considered as the new 'official' name.
Prizes will be awarded to the senders of the top three submissions. Only one entry per participant will be accepted.
In 2012 wildlife officials in Maryland introduced a new reward scheme, offering gift cards from fishing stores to the value of £126, along with discounts on boat hire and other prizes as an incentive to get anglers to help control these problem fish.
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