An invasive fish capable of breathing air and living on land for up to five days has been spotted in Georgia. And people have been warned to ‘kill it immediately’ should they spot it.
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, a northern snakehead fish has been spotted in a pond located at a Gwinnett County property.
The department have described the long, blotchy fish as ‘bad news’; urging people to Kill it ‘immediately and freeze it’. They have also advised people to take some pics of the fish, if possible.
Find out more about this fishy character in the following news report:
Northern snakehead fish – which can grow up to three feet in length – have previously been clocked in 14 US states. However, this is the very first time one has been spotted in Georgia waters, and its presence is still somewhat mysterious.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division have sounded the alarm via a rather disquieting Facebook post:
Northern snakehead are bad news. And for the first time, the invasive fish has been confirmed in Georgia waters.
If you believe you have caught a northern snakehead:
– DO NOT RELEASE IT.
– Kill it immediately and freeze it.
– If possible, take pictures of the fish.
– Note where it was caught (waterbody, landmarks or GPS coordinates).
– Immediately report it to your regional Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Office.
Although you may not think this goggly-eyed pest warrants this Jaws-esque public warning, these sly fish apparantly pose a grave threat to native species as they compete for food and habitat.
As reported by CNN, the northern snakehead fish is federally regulated; and is regarded by The United States Department of Agriculture to be ‘injurious wildlife’.
According to CBS 46, WRD chief of fisheries Matt Thomas has appealed to Georgia-based anglers to remain vigilant in the slippery battle ahead:
Our first line of defence in the fight against aquatic invasive species, such as the northern snakehead, are our anglers.
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. 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.
According to a WRD press release, citizens can take action in the following ways:
1. Learn how to identify northern snakehead.
2. Dispose of aquarium animals and plants in the garbage, not in waterbodies.
3. Dispose of all bait in trash cans, at disposal stations, or above the waterline on dry land.
4. Dump water from boat compartments, bait buckets, and live wells on dry land.
Under Georgia law, it is illegal to import, transport, sell, transfer, or possess any sort of snakehead fish species without possessing a valid wild animal license.
Find out more about why this fish is getting everyone in such a flap here.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.