Congratulations to Patterson Clark [“A slimy fish out of water,” Health & Science, April 30] for producing what might be the media’s first balanced and factual piece on the “fearsome” snakehead.
Clark wrote that Virginia fisheries biologist John Odenkirk has found little evidence to support initial fears — hysterically reported in the media — that this Asian native was gobbling its way through the Potomac River’s fish population. Ironically, the greatest fear was for the future of the largemouth bass, which is also not native to this area (although not from Asia). Now, when I ask a fellow angler, “Do any good today?” he’ll reply, “No, just a lot of bass. No snakeheads.”
The passions that non-native, “invasive” species arouse often say a lot more about us and our romanticized — even chauvinistic — view of nature than about the real impact of the species themselves. Much better to treat these new arrivals with curiosity and respect, as Odenkirk has been urging. With a little effort and understanding, we can all get along.
Roger Hamilton, Bethesda