The hunt for a snakehead fish believed to be in a pond at a Metro Vancouver park has failed to turn up any sign of the invasive and predatory species that has come to be known as frankenfish.
A team of biologists searched the lagoon and two other ponds in Burnaby’s Central Park on Wednesday and made some unexpected discoveries, but no frankenfish.
The hunt was spawned after a local man made a video of a fish resembling a snakehead and posted the recording on YouTube. Other witnesses also claimed to have seen the creature in the park’s waters.
So a team from the B.C. Environment Ministry and the City of Burnaby pulled out the stops to find the now infamous snakehead fish.
The team first tried a net designed for use in streams, but caught nothing more than mud.
The biologists then tried a pair of nets and caught a catfish and some small fish possibly dumped from someone's aquarium, but no snakehead.
Local resident Bruce Causier said he had seen the snakehead in the lagoon four times and wasn’t sure the team was going about the hunt correctly.
"The snakehead usually goes in here," Causier said, pointing to a section of the pond. "If I was doing it, I would have put a net right around."
The hunters then tried an electro-fisher, a device that generates shocks that temporarily stun anything within one metre. But it appeared there were no fish in range.
A final tactic involved stretching a 30-metre net across the pond and then hauling in their catch. They came up with more catfish, a red-eared slipper turtle and several carp, including one weighing about 8.2 kilograms.
Although no snakehead was found, all the fish in the nets were invasive species and anyone caught dumping them could face stiff penalties, said conservation officer Jack Trudgian.
"You could be looking at about over $400 in fines. And under the federal legislation, release fish into any fish habitat, you get an appearance notice," said Trudgian. "So then you'd be going in front of a judge."
The biologists’ team will decide later whether they will mount another search for the Burnaby snakehead.