Northern Snakehead Fish found in Georgia

Wednesday, October 9, 2019
News 12 at 6 o'clock/NBC at 7

THOMSON, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Northern Snakehead Fish is native to countries like Russia and China but not to the United States. Ed Bettross a Fisheries Biologist at the Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says that the species first came to the US in the late 1990s and early 2000s. They have now had their first confirmed case of the fish in the state of Georgia.

Bettross says that the fish does pose a risk to the local environment since it does not have any natural predators. The Northern Snakehead fish is a predator itself so the concern is that if left unchecked the fish could eliminate the local fish population. He also says that the fish can grow to about 30 inches long.

Bettross explains that the Northern Snakehead has a long dorsal fin on top and on its belly. Whereas the native Bow fish has a shorter dorsal fin on its belly. Another big difference is the color of the fish, the Snakehead has darker browns and a stripe-like pattern whereas the Bow fish is mostly solid. See the image below for a full comparison and if you want to learn more about the facts of the Northern Snakehead click here.

So what should you do if you happen to catch or think you have caught a Northern Snakehead? Bettross says to NOT RELEASE IT back into the body of water and kill it right away. He says you should also report it to the Thomson DNR office, their number is (706) 595-1619

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