The northern snakehead was seen in Georgia, a fish that can live on land and breathe air, fueling officials to warn folks to slay the species on sight.
A fish that breathe on land
“Kill it immediately,” the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division advised in a statement. “DO NOT RELEASE IT.” A freshwater fish, the northern snakehead is native to Eurasia, but it made progress in 14 other countries before its Georgian debut this month.
An angler caught the fish in a private pond in Gwinnett County, northeast of Atlanta, sparking state officials to issue their latest warning to the public. The species appears to be unobjectionable enough, with a narrow spotted body that can sprout up to about three feet.
Although the northern snakehead is an insatiable predator that poses a serious threat to fish, crustaceans, amphibians, and other native species, and can be combative when it comes to protecting young people, according to the US Geological Survey.
Georgia authorities want to stop the species ‘ spread before it travels across the overland to other water bodies in the state. “Our first line of defense in the fight against aquatic invasive species, such as the northern snakehead, are our anglers,”
Chief of Fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division, Matt Thomas, said. “Thanks to the rapid 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.”