“Malicious Yet Delicious”

Thanks to a bill signed by Governor Ralph Northam signed a law last week, it will be legal come July to sell snakehead fish, an invasive species that is spreading fast in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Legislation swam through the General Assembly this year despite concerns by some that commercializing the Asian invader would encourage people to stock it in Virginia waterways. The hope is that legalizing sales will encourage more anglers to catch the piscine predator, thus slowing its growth in numbers and the threat it poses to good ol’ Virginia fish.

The hard part, I expect, will be persuading customers to eat a fish named snakehead. Restaurateurs have a real branding challenge.

Rocky and Blair Denson, owners of Denson’s Grocery and Oyster Bar in Colonial Beach where Northam signed the legislation, have no qualms. They say they plan to put snakehead on the menu as soon as it becomes legal to do so. Reports the Free Lance-Star:

They will serve fried “snakehead bites” with a remoulade dip.

“Malicious, yet delicious” is how a good friend of Rocky Denson describes the freshwater predator, which will eat just about anything.

“Fried, dipped in remoulade, it’s fabulous,”

I admire their panache. But all I can say is, “Good luck with that!”

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6 responses to ““Malicious Yet Delicious””

  1. LarrytheG Avatar

    I find the entire conundrum of invasive species versus threatened and endangered species – thought provoking.

    Over 500, 1000, 10,000, 100,000 years – the dynamic ebb and flow of changes to habitat and in turn the existing species adapted to it and new ones moving in… makes one at least think a bit about things like snakeheads which are clearly an introduced invasive as opposed to one that gradually extended it’s range but at the same time something called natural progression and evolution are also in play.

    The snakehead may well outcompete some existing species and may render them no longer viable but other species will, over time, adapt to the snakehead .. I’m skeptical of the idea that such things end up in “mono-cultures” myself – especially if the “out years” are measured in thousands of years rather than decades.

    If you think about it – horses ARE an “introduced” species in North ..and South America! I am informed thought that is the species turns out to be a “good” one that it’s not proper to call it an “invasive” … So some day.. perhaps a hundred years from now Snakeheads will become the new Lunker Bass!!

    1. djrippert Avatar

      Largemouth bass are an invasive species in the Potomac River but they’ve become quite the attraction. The snakehead population has plateaued and is declining slightly in some areas. The real issue is the blue catfish.

  2. TBill Avatar

    Never caught one so far…if I do, I guess I’ll eat it.

  3. djrippert Avatar

    They are delicious. While you’re at it, eat some fried blue catfish too. The Blue Cat, intentionally introduced as a non-native fish by Richmond’s finest, are choking out the other fish in places like the James River where they now account for 50 – 75% of the fish biomass. An invasive apex predator that grows to 100lbs. Who could have guessed that would cause problems?

  4. Acbar Avatar

    I’m waiting for a long parade of snake puns to dissipate before thinking seriously about how to list this new protein source on any local restaurant menu.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      It worked for the Patagonian Toothfish (aka Chilean Sea Bass). I like the Potomac Pike.

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