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Invasive Species - They Threaten Our Native Populations


  • The future of sunfish fishing in Georgia mountain lakes is threatened following the illegal introduction of blueback herring by anglers.
  • Georgia's best smallmouth bass fishery was ruined by anglers who moved spotted bass from Lake Lanier to Lake Chatuge.
  • The popular redbreast sunfish and bullhead fisheries in the Altamaha River Basin were decimated by flathead catfish which were illegally introduced.
  • The Zebra mussel is moving south and is likely to be carried into Georgia on boats or by individuals. Introduced into the Great Lakes in 1985, Zebra mussels are a serious threat to Georgia's native mussels (many are endangered) and can clog water intakes for drinking , power and your outboard motor costing millions of dollars to control.

Moving live fish, aquatic plants, or mussels from one body of water to another can cause irreversible damage to the ecological balance of the our lakes, ponds, rivers or streams.

You can help by taking these simple actions:

  • Never release live bait fish, aquarium fish, aquatic plants or mussels into our waters. For more on what to do with aquarium fish/plants, click here.
  • Dispose of bait fish after fishing so that they cannot enter a lake, pond, river or stream .
  • Remove all plants, plant fragments, and mussels from your boat, motor, trailer, live well and landing nets after taking your boat out of the water.
  • Clean your boat and equipment before leaving the landing.
  • Dry your boat and equipment for 10 - 14 days before using or launching again.

By taking these simple actions, you can help the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division protect Georgia's native aquatic resources and ensure good fishing for future generations.

Please remember: only DNR Fisheries staff are authorized to stock or move live fish or aquatic plants from one body of water to another.

To find out more information about aquatic nuisance species and ways that you can protect our waters, visit the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers program website at www.protectyourwaters.net. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is a cooperating partner in this program.


Georgia is now a member of the Gulf and South Atlantic Regional Panel on Aquatic Invasive Species.

Georgia is also a participating partner in the Habitattitude Program.

Find out more at www.habitattitude.net

View species alerts and fact sheets to learn more about various exotic or aquatic nuisance species that have either been collected in Georgia or are of concern as potential threats to native species and ecosystems.  More species are always being added, so check back again for more information.

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