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article imageVirginia man catches record-breaking snakehead fish

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By Leigh Goessl     May 19, 2012 in Environment
Occoquan - A Northern Virginia man caught a massive snakehead fish in the Occoquan River, a tributary of the Potomac River. The catch was made on May 8, and is a record-breaker, at least unofficially.
Weighing in at 18.37 pounds and measuring over 4-feet-long, WJLA reported, the snakehead fish catch looked to be a new world record. The previous record, a 17.4 pounder, was caught in Japan.
Juan Duran, of Annandale, Va., caught the massive fish in the waters located south of Washington, D.C. Duran had been fishing for bass the day he made his remarkable catch, and struggled to reel the giant in.
"I think they're cool looking...I love the way they fight.. And you can catch them with a bass lure," Duran said. "When you're fighting a fish that big,... concentrate on that one fish - pretty awesome feeling."
The Washington Post reported while the weight of the fish was a record-breaker, the International Game Fish Association, the agency that keeps the records, also tracks girth and length, which Duran had not captured. He had given the fish to a friend, who had cooked the giant fish for supper.
According to the Post, Duran may not get the listing as the largest snakehead fish, asking, "Will his record catch be the one that got away on a technicality?"
Duran has supplied photos, the scale used to weight the fish and also a 30-foot section of the 17-pound test line used to catch the snakehead.
“If it doesn’t work out, I know it’s the biggest snakehead ever caught and recorded,” Duran told the Post. “So I’ll still be proud of myself.”
Snakehead fish, sometimes referred to as "frankenfish," are an undesired species in the U.S. and feared invasive to local water habitats; live imports and interstate transport are illegal. The Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries regulations regarding snakehead fish catching and ownership are stringent.
Currently, in Canada, The Globe and Mail is reporting British Columbia may lose its status to allow importing of snakeheads. B.C. is reportedly the only jurisdiction in North America that allows importation of the snakefish.
This story is making headlines after the fish was spotted swimming in a Burnaby lagoon, and has been described as a "high priority."
“This is the first incident where we’ve seen this get into the wild,” Provincial Environment Minister Terry Lake said. “Of course we will have to move quickly.”
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