BURNABY (NEWS1130) – Two feet long, weighing several pounds, black and slimy with jagged, razor-sharp teeth.  The elusive snakehead has been caught.

Crews searching Burnaby’s Central Park pond for the invasive fish found what they were looking for just after 11:00 a.m. It was caught alive.

“It put up a fight. It took a while to euthanize,” explains Mattias Herrborg with the Ministry of the Environment.  “It was writhing around for quite a while. It’s a tough fish. I guess it can breath air, making it stronger even out of the water.”

It was caught and killed after weeks of searching using many techniques, including partially draining the pond.

“We were beach sanding, we were throwing big nets around, and then it turned out that one of our staff was just able to catch it with a dip net because it was hiding in a corner, and just caught it, swept it up,” says Herrborg.

The team searched the water for other snakeheads but they are confident they caught the only one there.

The snakehead was caught on video a few weeks ago, raising concerns for the rest of the fish and turtles living in the pond.

The fish is known to eat pretty much anything, including small mammals, and can reproduce very quickly.

There have been protests at the pond in recent days over the treatment of wildlife in the area.

Environment Minister Terry Lake says BC is working to ban the sale of snakehead fish. “Well, we are going to introduce an addition to our controlled alien species regulation, so that it will become illegal to import  snakehead fish.”

Lake says they will get working on that and probably have that done by late summer or early fall.

As for concerns over killing the snakehead, he calls it a voracious predator that is a risk to native fish species in BC.

Other animals in pond survive ordeal

“They have left the turtles. The turtles are still in the pond,” says Merina Mohr with Homefinders Animal Rescue Society. She had spent Thursday worrying about all the turtles, bullfrogs and koi fish that were destined to be euthanized, after the pond’s waters were drawn down.

Even some of those koi survived the ordeal.

“The water levels are still quite low. The Ministry of Environment is not intending to refill it immediately. We can only hope that the koi and carp are sturdy and hardy enough to prevail.”

The effort to get the turtles and even the fish out of the pond and into proper care is still a top priority.

“We want a province-wide ban on the turtles, so we don’t have people releasing them into the pond when they don’t know what to do with this turtle anymore,” says Mohr.

The koi and bullfrogs, like the turtles and the snakehead, are not native to the pond.