'Kill it immediately': Invasive fish that can breathe air, survive on land found in Georgia

Jordan Culver, USA TODAY

An invasive fish has been marked for death in Georgia.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Division confirmed someone found a northern snakehead in a pond on private property in Gwinnett County, marking the first time the invasive fish has been found in the state, according to the DNR.

The department's advice for what Georgia residents should do upon finding a northern snakehead, which can breathe air, is simple. First, residents should not release the fish. Secondly, "Kill it immediately (remember, it can survive on land) and freeze it."

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.

“Our first line of defense in the fight against aquatic invasive species, such as the northern snakehead, are our anglers,” Matt Thomas, chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division, said in a statement.

A Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist holds an adult northern snakehead fish in this file photo.

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“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," Thomas said.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the northern snakehead is native to Eastern Asia and "preys on and competes with native species."

The northern snakehead can grow to "three feet in length," according to the Georgia DNR.

"They have a long dorsal fin that runs along their whole back, and have a dark brown blotchy appearance. They can breathe air, and can survive in low oxygenated systems," the department added.


This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Invasive fish that can breathe air, survive on land found in Georgia