US Citizens Urged To Kill Invasive Chinese Snakehead Fish That Can Survive On Land
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resource Division (WRD) said this was the first time the fish - which can survive for several days on land - had been found in Georgian waters.
The fish - which are native to the Yangtze River basin - pose a serious threat to indigenous wildlife as they compete for food and habitat.
Matt Thomas, chief of fisheries for the WRD, appealed to anglers to help in the fight against the fish.
Speaking to CBS 46, he said: "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."
The WRD also shared a list of instructions for people to follow if they come across one of the invasive fish.
The Facebook post read: "Northern snakeheads 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."
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. Their unusual ability to breathe air means they can survive on land for several days, enabling them to move between different bodies of water.
However, don't go overestimating this air-breathing capability - the northern snakehead didn't crawl all the way from the Yangtze River basin to a pond in Georgia. The likelihood is that they were introduced via some sort of unauthorised release, although what motive somebody would have for doing this is less clear.
Featured Image Credit: Georgia DNR