Ding dong, the snakehead's still gone!
But the memory of the summer's most famous amphibious fish lives on around the world, thanks to the efforts of a group of local entrepreneurs, an Anne Arundel County pol and . . . the Smithsonian Institution.
State officials confirmed again last week, after electroshocking the four-acre Crofton pond once again, that the snakeheads and everything else in the small fishing hole behind a suburban strip mall on Route 301 are indeed dead.
But sales of T-shirts, hats, sweat shirts and other snakehead merchandise continue to be brisk, according to Bill Berkshire, who helped his two daughters capitalize on the environmental nightmare by establishing the snakeheadstuff.com Web site..
And plans are in the works for a walking snakehead toy to hit the market next spring, just about the time that a book commissioned by the Smithsonian is scheduled to roll off the presses. Somewhere along the line, Berkshire also plans a documentary about the summer-long saga that captivated the nation and kept a team of state and federal officials on tenterhooks until the invasive fish could be snuffed.
And, if Berkshire has his way, there will be an annual snakehead harvest ball, both to commemorate the invasion of the Chinese fish that put Crofton in headlines around the world, and to raise money to spruce up the pond that marks the entrance to this suburban community.
"It will be in the hearts and minds of everybody for quite a long time," Berkshire said. "We're going to try to see to that."
The T-shirts have proven so popular that state Del. Janet Greenip (R-Anne Arundel) plans to take a suitcase filled with them to India, as gifts for her son's new in-laws.
But lest the legacy of the northern snakehead becomes simply a freak joke, a special life-sized replica is being made of one of the invasive fish caught in the pond.
Ultimately, it will be displayed in the Maryland Natural Resources headquarters in Annapolis as a malevolent foil to the native striped bass that hangs as a trophy on the walls of the building's first floor.