Georgia DNR issues kill order for northern snakehead fish

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)- The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is telling anglers to kill a certain fish if they catch it.

It’s called the northern snakehead fish. And for the first time, it’s turned up in Georgia waters in Gwinnett County.

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DNR says the fish is invasive and can cause problems for fish and habitat native to Georgia.

What’s unique about this fish is that it can breathe out of water. According to Georgia DNR, the snakehead is a long, thin fish, similar in appearance to the native bowfin. They can get up to three feet in length. They have a long dorsal fin that runs along their whole back, and have a dark brown blotchy appearance.

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

So again, DNR says if you catch one, don’t release it. Kill it immediately, and freeze it. Take pictures of the mouth, fins, and tail. Note where it was caught, and then contact Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Office.