COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSAV) – Wildlife officials are now warning anglers in South Carolina about an invasive species of fish that was found in Georgia earlier this month.
Though the Northern snakehead has not been found in the state yet, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) says if anglers come across the fish they should “kill it immediately” as it poses a threat to native fish populations and can even survive on land.
At this time, Northern snakeheads have been found in 14 states, including Georgia, in a pond in Gwinnett County, as well as North Carolina and Florida.
A biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources told News 3 it’s believed someone dumped their aquarium, releasing the snakeheads.
SCDNR urges anglers to know the features of the snakehead fish since they are similar in appearance to the bowfin. Snakeheads are long, thin fish and can get up to three feet in length. They have a long dorsal fin that runs along their whole back and a dark brown, blotchy appearance.
Anyone who catches a Northern snakehead is urged to kill and freeze it and report it to SCDNR at 1-800-922-5431. The agency asks for photos of the fish and information on where it was caught.