Wildlife officials in the state of Georgia have issued a warning concerning a potentially invasive species.

The invasive species, also known as the Northern Snakehead, can breathe air and survive on land. It is the first sighting of the fish species in Georgia.

An angler caught the fish in a pond in Gwinnett County, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

The authority issued a cautionary statement saying the Northern Snakehead is bad news, and anyone who comes into contact with them should kill them on sight.

The Wildlife Resources Division thanked the swift response of their staff to the quick reporting of the angler. Matt Thomas, the chief of fisheries, said they are taking steps to determine if the fish had already spread from the pond and keep it from going to other water bodies.

It may be the first time the fish has been discovered in the state though snakeheads have been reported in at least 16 states across the country.

The fish is long and thin with a dark blotchy appearance. It can grow up to three feet in length and can breathe air meaning it can survive in low oxygenated places like land.

It is known as the snakehead because of the snake-like appearance considering the sleek shape and color patterns. The species is also native to China, Russia and North Korea and is feared because of its predatory nature leading to competition with local fish for food.

They also reproduce very quickly and can overrun an area leading to the reduction of other fish populations.

People have compared it to having another person at the table, even though there is a finite amount of food.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resource issued a directive to anyone fishing who comes across the species. It should not be released. The fish should be killed and frozen.

If possible, pictures should be taken, including a close up of the fins, mouth, and tail. Finally, the angler should note where they found the fish in terms of GPS coordinates and forward this information to the authority.

The snakehead is a non-native invasive species, and that means it affects the species native to the ecosystem by competing for the same food and habitat.

The fish species is so concerning that it is illegal to possess one without a valid wild animal license.

The United States Department of Agriculture considers the snakehead as injurious wildlife, and they are federally regulated.

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