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Effort to knock out invasive flathead catfish species seumes in Satilla River
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WAYCROSS — Last year’s efforts to eradicate the unwelcome, invasive flathead catfish from the Satilla River resulted in the removal of exactly 4,399 of the fish.
This year, those efforts continue as biologists and fisheries personnel with the Satilla River Flathead Catfish Project team, a part of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, kick-off the 2008 sampling season with the second round of tagging studies.
WRD asks any angler who catches a tagged fish to mail the bright orange tag to the WRD Waycross office, mailing address:  Georgia Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 2089, Waycross, Ga., 31502-2089. Anglers should include their name, address, phone number(s), the date of the catch, the catch location (GPS coordinates if available, local landmarks, etc.), the length and weight of the fish and whether the fish was harvested or released (preferably harvested).
Tags may also be hand-delivered to the Waycross Fisheries office located at 108 Darling Ave. in Waycross.
Flathead catfish were illegally introduced into the Satilla in the 1990s and the resulting decline of redbreast sunfish and other native fish in this once premier sunfish fishery is an issue that WRD biologists and fisheries personnel are continuing to tackle. Given the predatory characteristics of flatheads, if this non-native species continues to prosper, the reputation of the Satilla as one of Georgia’s premier sunfish fisheries will likely suffer.
Unauthorized release of flathead catfish or any other fish into public waters is illegal in Georgia and violators can be prosecuted. Exotic species often hurt native fish. Those knowledgeable of illegal fish stocking are asked to report the violations to any WRD Fisheries Management office or contact (770) 918-6406.
For more information on the project, visit You’ll find information on the Satilla River Flathead Catfish Project under “Fishing,” then “Fisheries Management,” then “Aquatic Nuisance Species.” For more information, call (770) 918-6406.
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