“DO NOT RELEASE IT. Kill it immediately,” DNR Response To Snakehead Fish

“DO NOT RELEASE IT. Kill it immediately.” This is what the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division is advising the public to do if they believed they had caught a non-native northern snakehead fish, which are native to China, Russia, and Korea.

Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division recently confirmed the presence of snakehead fish (Channa argus) in Gwinnett County in a pond located on private property. 

“This is the first documented occurrence of snakeheads in the wild in Georgia,” Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division notes. “Invasive species are often introduced through unauthorized release. Non-native invasive species such as the northern snakehead, have the potential to impact native species in introduced areas by competing for food and habitat.”

Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division says, “IF YOU BELIEVE YOU CAUGHT A NORTHERN SNAKEHEAD, DO NOT RELEASE IT.” They continue stating to “Kill it immediately (remember, it can survive on land) and freeze it.” If possible, take pictures of the fish, including close-ups of its mouth, fins, and tail. Note where it was caught (waterbody, landmarks or GPS coordinates). Report it to your regional Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Office.

More information about the snakehead fish:

https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?speciesid=2265

https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/profile/northern-snakehead#cit

Photos provided by U.S. Department of Agriculture, Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, and United States Geological Survey