A massive, record-breaking fish has been pulled from a South Florida canal -- but it's not good news.
That's because the 14 pounds, 3 ounce fish is a bullseye snakehead, an eel-shaped, freakish-looking invasive species that Florida Fish And Wildlife Commission officials certainly weren't hoping to find growing quite so fat in Broward County's C-14 canal.
FWC staffer Murray Stanford was electrofishing for snakehead -- a technique used by biologists in which a weak electric current temporarily stuns fish to make collection possible -- when he pulled up the whopper of an unwelcome guest. (Story continues below.)
"We knew right away," Kelly Gestring, who works for FWC's non-native fish research lab in Boca Raton, told CBS Miami. "It was definitely the largest one we have ever collected."
In fact, Stanford's bullseye snakehead would have shattered the previous record of 12 pounds, 8 ounces, but won't count for the record books since he didn't catch it fishing with a line.
The bullseye snakehead hasn't proven to be as destructive an invader as pythons in the Everglades, but its unsightly looks and alarming legend have kept the South Asian native in the headlines -- especially when the so-called "Frankenfish" was released in Maryland waterways, setting off a national hysteria.
Snakeheads breath air, have red eyes, and can reportedly live for hours out of water, making the carnivorous species a perfect suspect for tall tales, urban legends, and bad TV movies.
Fortunately -- since the fish are so determined to make South Florida home-- it turns out they're delicious. FWC has been promoting the consumption of bullseye snakeheads, even bringing in Florida Agriculture chef Justin Timineri to cooked it pan-seared with a honey citrus glaze at last month's awards ceremony for the Florida Python Challenge.
Possessing a live snakehead is illegal.
"If you catch one, you have to kill it in some way," Gestring told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "Usually the angler just gives them a real good whack on the head."
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