Northern Snakehead

Scientific name
Channa argus
Production method
Source of fry



This species relies on extruded feed that contains low percentages of fishmeal and fish oil, with a low fish-in-fish-out ratio, meaning that low amounts of fish are used as feed to produce one kilogram of northern snakehead. There are existing snakehead feed producers whose components are known and traceable, but many farmers still purchase feed from producers that do not have traceable feed.  

Ecological effects

With intensive production and frequent water exchange, the rearing method can generate water discharge but impacts are not well-documented. The farming activities require continuous land alterations and are frequently in high ecologically sensitive areas. The distribution of snakehead farms in China is quite wide and in different regions. The expansion of this farming activity mainly occurs in areas of high ecological sensitivity resulting in continuous habitat loss continuously. The species is native to the region. However, as a hybrid species from hatcheries, escapes can lead to unknown environmental impacts. The species could be subject to both viral and bacterial diseases. There have been reported incidents of widespread outbreaks that have caused significant mass mortality. 


China’s regulatory framework for aquaculture is marginally effective but is gradually becoming more comprehensive to satisfy the continuous development of the sector and to minimise the adverse negative impact on the environment. Monitoring and enforcement do not appear to be always effective. Data availability is partially limited and lacks monitoring and transparency.