Monday, 14 October, 2019

Snakehead Fish Panic Prompts GA to Order Fishermen to Kill Them All

An adult northern snakehead fish An adult northern snakehead fish
Elijah Vega | 11 October, 2019, 04:53

An invasive fish species was spotted in Georgia, leading wildlife officials to call on people to "kill it immediately and freeze it".

According to a release from the Georgia Department of Natural (GDNR) Resources, invasive northern snakehead fish have been confirmed in Georgia waters.

"We are now taking steps to determine if they have spread from this water body and, hopefully, keep it from spreading to other Georgia waters", said Matt Thomas, chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division.

The fish, which are long and thin with a dark appearance and a long dorsal fin that runs along its back, can grow up to three feet long. It can also breathe air, and survive in low oxygenated systems, including on land, officials said.

Fishermen who find a northern snakehead should take pictures, note where it was caught and then report it, the Georgia DNR said in a statement.

It's unclear how the snakehead fish got into the pond, however, Georgia's DNR says invasive species are introduced through unauthorized release. "They can survive on land", said a spokesperson in a news release.

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Wildlife officials often put a catch-and-release policy into place for fish. The state's Department of Natural Resources said that these invasive creatures have been reported in 14 USA states so far. Their breathing ability makes it possible for them to navigate to other small areas of land and new bodies of water.

Officials have also asked that a report of the catch be made to a regional Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Office to help combat the problem.

Officials are concerned about the Northern snakehead infiltrating US water because they are 'voracious predators'.

- Kill it immediately and freeze it.

Maryland had the first established population of the fish in 2002, and the state has the largest distribution of northern snakeheads, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

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