A new name for the snakehead?


Do you like seafood? If so, you might want to enter the contest to rename the northern snakehead. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
January 22

When you hear “northern snakehead,” you probably don’t say, “Yum!” But Charles County is hoping to change that. The county is sponsoring a contest to rename the Asian fish that invaded the Potomac River about 10 years ago.

“The snakehead has had a lot of bad publicity,” said Ken Robinson, the Charles County commissioner who came up with the contest. “It’s not ‘fishzilla,’ ” the name some have given the big fish that eats most small creatures that cross its path.

Robinson said he heard that the Chilean sea bass, a fish found on many restaurant menus, once had a similar problem. Its original name? The Patagonian toothfish.

Like the sea bass, the snakehead makes a good meal, Robinson said: “It tastes great.”

Names can be submitted until February 6. Judges will pick three finalists; then the public will choose the winner. Finalists will receive dinner at a Charles County restaurant that serves snakehead. The grand prize has not been determined, Robinson said.

The county will send the name to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for consideration.

Vote at www.charlescountymd.gov/snakehead-naming-contest. Always ask a parent before going online.

— Christina Barron

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