Invasive Snakehead Fish Spotted in Georgia for First Time

Pablo Tucker
October 10, 2019

An invasive northern snakehead fish, a creature native to Asian countries like South Korea and China, has been found in Georgia for the first time, prompting a warning from local officials to kill the animal "immediately" if located.

The WRD also shared a list of instructions for people to follow if they come across one of the invasive fish. Instead, they MUST "Kill it immediately", and keeping in mind they can breathe air. they should be frozen.

- DO NOT RELEASE IT. - Kill it immediately and freeze it. - If possible, take pictures of the fish.

Learn how to identify northern snakehead.

For more information, visit Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Office.

'Thanks to the quick report by an angler, our staff was able to investigate and confirm the presence of this species in this water body.

Officials said snakeheads are unsafe because they could potentially impact native species. It can also breathe air, and survive in low oxygenated systems, including on land.

The task force says: 'This unique adaptation and their ability to travel over land to new bodies of water by wiggling their bodies over the ground, gives the snakehead a competitive edge over other fishes in securing habitat and expanding its range'. Another big difference is the color of the fish, the Snakehead has darker browns and a stripe-like pattern whereas the Bow fish is mostly solid.

It's unclear how the fish ended up in the pond, but a blog post from the department explains invasive species "are often introduced throughout unauthorized release".

© Steve Ruark, AP A Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist holds an adult northern snakehead fish in this file photo.

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