Blue catfish, the invasive fish with a big appetite that is overwhelming many Chesapeake Bay tributaries, is probably here to stay. They have a sweeter, flaky flesh thanks to their rich Chesapeake Bay diet and do not develop the “muddy” flavor associated with common catfish. Since the blue catfish is an invasive species in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, it has no natural predators in this estuary. Blue and flathead catfish are now top predators in several river … Continued Blue catfish, introduced from the Mississippi River basin into the Chesapeake watershed in the 1970s, are now abundant in all major Chesapeake rivers, and pose a significant threat to Bay’s ecosystem due to their increasing populations and capacity to consume massive quantities of food. But a new management plan says that with coordinated action — including ramped-up efforts to get people to develop an appetite for them — … Blue catfish is a newcomer to Washington stores and restaurants, it’s sustainably caught in the Chesapeake Bay, and it’s probably tastier than any catfish you’ve ever had. Chesapeake Bay Foundation. For PDF download click: Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish UMD article Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish: Invasive, but Delicious and Nutritious! Blue catfish were introduced to Virginia’s James, York, and Rappahannock rivers for sport fishing in the early 1970s. Increasing commercial harvest and consumption is one way to reduce their numbers in our Bay. Congress isn’t helping. Chef’s symposiums held annually at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science offer Blue Catfish fishery, sustainability, and culinary products education to chefs and culinary students. Recently, this Workgroup approved an Invasive Catfish Management Strategy (PDF, 21 pages) to guide efforts around the Bay to manage invasive catfish. Blue catfish now support exceptional trophy fisheries in the Chesapeake Bay region, particularly in the James and Potomac rivers, where catfish over 50 lb are regularly caught by anglers. To help scientists and resource managers learn more about these fish, NCBO provided more than $1 million in funding for research projects to investigate blue catfish. In my opinion the best tasting catfish is the Blue Catfish which is running wild, literally, in the Chesapeake Bay. Unlike its cousin, the channel catfish, the Blue Catfish is not a … The Bay Journal has a fascinating article on blue catfish and the threat they bring to the Chesapeake. Show us your blue catfish catch! Meaty and subtle, blue catfish makes an easy dinner. The species were introduced to the upper James River by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in the 70s, and over time they've not only exploded in population but also proved to be significant predators when it comes to blueback herring, blue crabs, and menhaden. The blue catfish thrives in freshwater, in the Chesapeake Bay’s major Southern tributaries, but can also live in brackish, tidal waters. Blue catfish are destroying the Chesapeake Bay. Striped bass, bull reds, swordfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and numerous other species will be doing their best to fatten up for winter this month, giving anglers a number of possibilities to pick and choose from. Giant blue catfish swarm the tidal rivers off the Chesapeake Bay, and tempting anglers across the Mid-Atlantic region. Cook it simply: pan-seared in butter, doused with fresh lemon, served atop spring-fresh potato salad. Blue catfish were introduced to the Bay in the 1970’s to support sport fishing, when thousands of the Mississippi River natives were brought into the Rappahannock and James Rivers. Blue Catfish is an invasive fish species in the Chesapeake Bay but increasing commercial harvest and consumption is one way to reduce their numbers. It is illegal to transport live blue and flathead catfish between water bodies in all Chesapeake Bay … The largest caught in Virginia was 102 pounds and was caught in the James River in 2009. Blue catfish, which were first introduced by Virginia officials to the James River for sport fishing, might number more than 100 million in the Chesapeake Bay now, researchers say. The brown bullhead is a freshwater catfish with a mottled, brownish body and slightly notched tail that grows to be about a foot in length. The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office (NCBO) and other Chesapeake Bay organizations identified invasive catfish as a challenge facing the Chesapeake ecosystem several years ago. More than a decade ago, the northern snakehead was Public Enemy No. They can tolerate a range of temperatures and oxygen levels and are able to survive in fairly polluted waters. Blue catfish represent between half and three-quarters of the biomass in the James, Rappahannock and York rivers on Virginia’s western shore of the Chesapeake… Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish and increasing consumer demand to help control the fish’s numbers. According to the Chesapeake Bay Program, blue catfish, native to the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri River basins, were introduced into Virginia rivers in the 1970s as a sport fish and have few regional predators. It is a long-lived fish and can grow to 100 pounds. Fish; Blue Catfish Watch Chesapeake Bay. While both fish are long-lived and fast-growing, it’s the blue catfish that is the major problem. Invasives 101: How eating things that aren’t from here could be a boon for the bay . Date Posted: 2017-06-14 Source: The Washington Post. Blue Catfish is an invasive fish species in the Chesapeake Bay. Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Salt Tolerant Invasive Fish Poised to Expand in Bay . That’s because unlike the farmed variety, which eat a diet of corn-and-soy feed, blue … Like many Chesapeake Bay residents, the fish relocated here. In Burwell Bay, a small area of the James River not far upstream from Newport News, they estimated blue catfish had the potential to consume 560,000–720,000 blue crabs. Many consider the James River to be the best river on earth to catch blue catfish over 50 lbs. Chesapeake Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) are a different species than the more common channel catfish grown in the Southern States. Blue Catfish: How to Think about an Invasive Species . Initially introduced for sportfishing in several Virginia tributaries, blue and flathead catfish are considered invasive in the Chesapeake Bay. The ability of the blue catfish to tolerate a wide range of climates and brackish water has allowed it to thrive in Virginia's rivers, lakes, tributaries, and the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay Program, in which NOAA is a key partner, has an Invasive Catfish Workgroup that has focused on the problem. Since their introduction, their range and population have increased dramatically. In 2018 there was an estimated 500 million pounds of blue catfish in the bay. 1 on the Potomac River, an air-breathing, snaggletoothed invasive species that walked on land, dined on small reptiles and, in its way, plotted revolution on the Chesapeake Bay. The largest blue catfish caught in Maryland was 84 pounds—52 inches long—in the Potomac River in 2012. If harvests are any indication, the people of the Chesapeake are developing a taste for the ecological threat: The 400,000 pounds of blue catfish extracted from the bay … Why haven’t we heard of Chesapeake Blue Catfish before? This species is native to the Chesapeake region and can be found in ponds, lakes, streams and rivers throughout the Bay watershed. A recent study from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science found that blue catfish can tolerate higher salinities than previously thought, meaning this invasive species has the potential to expand into mainstem Chesapeake waters, surrounding tributaries, and even the Delaware Bay. In this case study, we focus on Blue Catfish Ictalurus furcatus which were introduced in the Chesapeake Bay region and are now considered invasive. Due to lack of awareness among chefs and consumers, local watermen and processors have not been able to use this species at a high enough number to mitigate their impact on other Chesapeake Bay mainstays like blue … August 31, 2020 Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish: Invasive, but Delicious and Nutritious!. For perspective, that would be nearly 1 percent of the 765 million blue crabs estimated to be in the Bay in early 2012 by the annual Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey. VIMS Researchers find that Invasive Blue Catfish are Poised to Expand in the Bay . There is an amazing variety of catfish to be found, both farm-raised and wild. Indicates potential for further expansion in Chesapeake and into Delaware Bay. Edible DC. If you catch a catfish in Chesapeake Bay, there’s a good chance it’s an invader from the Mississippi River drainage–probably a blue catfish, though it could be a less common flathead catfish. Blue catfish, the invasive fish with a big appetite that is overwhelming many Chesapeake Bay tributaries, is probably here to stay. Growing up in the Chesapeake Bay … Atlas Obscura. Blue Catfish were introduced to tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay in the 1970s and 1980s to establish new fisheries, but their presence h... How to avoid getting duped by online catfish tales Once every couple months while scrolling through my Facebook feed, I'm inspired to put on my detective cap. About a decade into the 2000s, other markets emerged for the blue catfish and its cousin, flathead catfish. And with no natural predators, it thrived. Join the citizen science effort coordinated by researchers at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center to help track the current distribution and the spread of the non-native blue catfish into the upper Chesapeake Bay and into Delaware Bay and the Delaware River. 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