Fish's doom is seller's boon©Washington Post
August 19, 2002
Stalks of television truck antennas pierced the sunrise. Reporters stumbled through the dusky woods and positioned themselves behind the yellow police tape that encircled the water.
And as Maryland natural resource workers mixed poisons to administer to the Crofton, Md., pond where a family of invasive Chinese snakehead fish reside, entrepreneurs began setting up for another job -- selling commemorative T-shirts.
In the adjacent shopping center parking lot, Steve Koorey, an unemployed investment banking manager who rented two parking spaces from the Dunkin' Donuts for $50, sold his T-shirts, which were emblazoned with a snakehead fish and the words "Crofton, Maryland -- Home of the Snakehead."
"It's a no-brainer," Koorey said, exchanging a T-shirt for cash with a television cameraman. "This is the hottest thing this summer."
This was the culmination of a freak fish tale that has provided fodder for comedians and catapulted anyone close to the story to dizzying, if fleeting, fame.
Sunday's poisoning marked the beginning of a two-week process of killing the fish before they can spread beyond the pond.
Weekend angler Joe Gillespie could not resist returning Sunday to watch state officials finish the job he had started. Gillespie gave the first fugitive snakehead in June to state officials, who identified it as an alien species that could live out of water for three days and eat its way through the pond. Later, they discovered dozens of babies.
Biologists hope that within a week, the dieback of vegetation will give them a clear shot at killing whatever snakeheads -- or other fish -- remain with a toxin that will shut down the creatures' ability to breathe.
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