Experiment shows poison killed snakeheads within hour

Low concentrations could rid pond of fish

July 26, 2002|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

The juvenile snakeheads poisoned with rotenone in an Eastern Shore laboratory died within an hour after the plant-based substance was dumped into their tanks Tuesday, according to a report released yesterday.

Based on the experiment, scientists at the Paul S. Sarbanes Cooperative Oxford Laboratory in Oxford determined that fairly low concentrations of rotenone would be effective in wiping out the snakeheads lurking in a Crofton pond. Their report recommended using three parts per million of 5 percent rotenone in the pond.

The snakeheads - natives of China's Yangtze River that can breathe air, slither along on their fins and survive on land for three days - were discovered in the pond this summer by local anglers. A local man has since admitted to dumping two adult snakeheads - one male and one female - in the pond two years ago.

A scientific panel determined last week that rotenone would be the best way to rid the pond of snakeheads. The panel could issue its recommendation to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources secretary as early as today. If the secretary approves the recommendation, the rotenone could be applied to the pond as early as next month.

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