Rocky, a snakehead living with its keeper Chris Deverso in New York State, might get a new lease on life.

Snakeheads are Asian predatory fishes capable of breathing oxygen from the air and move over land. They have been banned in the USA since they might wreck havoc with North American ecosystems if introduced to the wild.

channa marulius adult 1 Death sentence might be revoked for New York snakehead
Channa marulius caught by fisherman.

Due to this regulation, the Department of Environmental Conservation wanted to euthanize the pet snakehead, but Deverso – who has owned the fish since before the ban was put into action in 2004 – refused to give up his pet and has therefore been back and forth to court and fined for owning the illegal fish.

The Department of Environmental Conservation has now offered a compromise; they will grant Deverso an educational permit, provided that he fulfils the educational permit requirements. He must:

- Install a lock on the top of the aquarium.

- Holds an open house or lecture in his home for groups interested in learning about snakehead fish.

- Pay an annual permit fee of $500.

I never went to college; I never made much. I’m just an average guy who stood up for what I believed in and hopefully in time I’ll be granted the permit and it’ll all be worth it,” said Deverso. I’ve taken care of him for 11 years, it’s my family pet; $500 is a lot of money but if it saves his life, it’s worth it.”