For the first time in Georgia waters, the invasive Northern Snakehead fish has been confirmed after a reported catch in Gwinnett County. The fish are native to the Yangtze River basin in China, and have been reported in 14 states so far. Invasive species such as the Northern Snakefish are often introduced through unauthorized releases. The fish raise a concern as they have the potential to impact native species by competing for habitat space and food. Citizens can help by learning to identify the invasive species, refraining from disposing of aquarium animals and plants in waterbodies, and disposing of bait in trash cans at disposal stations.
Anglers are the first line of defense, so if you come across a northern snakehead DO NOT RELEASE IT. Kill it immediately and freeze it as they can survuve on land. If possible take photos including close ups of it's mouth, fins and tail. Note where it was caught by using waterbody names, landmarks, or GPS coordinates. Immediately report it to your regional Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Dicision Fisheries Office. For more information about the northern snakehead or other aquatic nuisance species visit https://georgiawildlife.com/aquatic-nuisance-species.