PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission voted to approve an amendment to the state’s bowfishing regulations to add an invasive fish to the list of species that can be caught through bowfishing, according to a Monday release from the commission.
The commissioners voted to add snakeheads to the list of species that can be targeted with longbows, crossbows, spears, and gigs, the PFBC announced.
Snakeheads are an invasive species found in some Pennsylvania waters. They are predominantly found in southeastern Pennsylvania, but their expansion to new waterways across the state threatens sport fisheries and other species, the PFBC says.
The species is native to parts of China, Russia, and Korea, the PFBC says, and snakeheads were first confirmed in Pennsylvania in 2004 when some were caught from Meadow Lake in Philadelphia County.
Northern snakeheads are predatory fish that compete with other species for forage and habitat, the commission says.
It remains illegal to possess and transport live snakeheads or introduce them into Pennsylvania waters, the PFBC notes. The commission recommends that all snakeheads caught are disposed of properly either by harvesting them for food or discarding them into a waste container, but they should not be released back into the water.
Many states surrounding Pennsylvania already allow bowfishing of snakeheads to minimize their impact on waters where they are found, according to the PFBC.
The Pennsylvania Code also allows for carp, suckers, and catfish to be taken with longbows, crossbows, spears, or gigs.
The change to Pennsylvania’s code will go into effect once it is published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the PFBC says.