Officials Warn About Invasive Snakehead Fish Found in Georgia: 'Kill It Immediately'

Northern Snakehead Fish found in Georgia

‘Kill it immediately.’ 3-foot long fish that can live on land found in Georgia waters | Charlotte Observer

This spring, 81 northern snakehead fish were caught in the fish lifts at Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River, about 5 miles downriver of the Pennsylvania state line, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

The unexpected fish was found in Gwinnett County in early October in a pond attached to private property. "They can also breathe air allowing them to survive on land and in low oxygenated systems". The fish are native to the Yangtze River basin in China, but snakeheads have been reported in 14 states in the USA, the release said. The fish compete with native species for both food and habitat. They can survive on land.

According to a press release shared by the WRD, the northern snakehead is a long, thin fish with a dorsal fin that runs the length of its back, brown blotchy skin and large canine teeth.

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The department is now trying to figure out if the fish has spread from the pond as it looks to prevent the species from reaching other bodies of water in Georgia, Matt Thomas, Chief of Fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division, said in a statement. They have now had their first confirmed case of the fish in the state of Georgia.

However, wildlife officials are concerned the species - which is native to China - will destroy Georgia's ecosystem. "We would ask say anglers that do catch a snakehead to kill it immediately".

The task force reports that this fish species eats other fish, frogs, small reptiles, crustaceans, birds and some mammals.

Wildlife officials in Georgia are asking anglers to learn how to identify, kill and photograph the fish and reporting their catch to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries office.

An invasive fish has been marked for death in Georgia.

The best course of action is to kill the fish, freeze it, note where the fish was found and report it to officials.

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