I pressed Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fish Ecologist Dr. Joseph Love for an accurate tally of today’s blue catfish population. But a new management plan … The Blue Catfish is the largest invasive species of freshwater American Catfish. A new management strategy in the Chesapeake Bay aims to put blue catfish on your plate. A new management strategy in the Chesapeake Bay aims to put blue catfish on your plate. Thus the Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership asked its Sustainable Fisheries Goal Implementation Team to develop an Invasive Catfish Policy Adoption Statement, which notes that "the potential risk posed by blue catfish…on native species warrants action to examine potential measures to reduce densities and limit range expansion, and to evaluate possible negative ecological impacts." These older fish also grow quite large. The invasion of the blue catfish A few years ago, scientists began worrying that blue catfish, the much larger cousins of those squirmy, yellowish bottom feeders, might take over in Chesapeake Bay. Credit: Marine Mammal Stranding Center, U.S. 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. Zesty Baked Catfish. Not listed as occurring in South Carolina by Loyacano (1975). ), and feed almost exclusively on Corbicula in the Cape Fear River, North Carolina, (M. Moser, personal communication). Invasive carp in South Dakota lakes are at 35–255 per hectare. Other Names Channel Cat, Hump-back Blue Description Game fish - see statewide bag & size limits and lake-specific exceptions Ictalurus is Greek meaning "fish cat", and furcatus is Latin, meaning "forked", a reference to the species' forked tail fin. 2011). Renee Mercaldo-Allen (far left) works with and helps Hollings Scholar Eileen Bates (center) and Volunteer Allie Grusky (right) quickly process fish traps during field work aboard the R/V Loosanoff in Long Island Sound. Invasive Blue Catfish are a big problem in the Chesapeake Bay. blue tilapia: Oreochromis aureus (Steindachner, 1864) Nile tilapia: Oreochromis niloticus (Linnaeus, 1758) lionfish: Pterois volitans (Linnaeus, 1758) flathead catfish: Pylodictis olivaris (Rafinesque, 1819) In response, residents of the Chesapeake are trying to eat their way out of the problem. But, resource managers and foodies alike agree: Eating blue catfish from the Chesapeake Bay is tasty and nutritious一and it is good for the ecosystem. They were introduced to several rivers on Virginia’s Western Shore decades ago. “It wasn’t until the women who started Wide Net Project brought it to the forefront that all of our local purveyors started carrying blue catfish,” says Shields. Her team found that 1.6 million blue catfish were living in a 12-kilometer stretch near the mouth of the Chickahominy River, which equates to 544 per hectare (2.47 acres). 10/20/2020. Blue catfish dominate the fish “Because the next introduction might not be a food fish, you know what I’m saying?”, The only certainty is that the fish are here to stay. Evidence suggests that populations of “blue cats” and other fishes may become more salt tolerant when exposed to brackish estuarine waters. Blue Catfish (Invasive Threat) Previous Grade: n/a. Invasive blue catfish fill a container aboard a waterman's boat on the Potomac River. Attempts to promote “nutria” as delicious have largely stalled; swamp-rat meat evades simple rebranding. Virginia Sea Grant/CC BY-ND 2.0 Ever since it was introduced to Virginia’s waters for sport in the 1970s, the blue catfish … But a new management plan says that with coordinated action — including ramped-up efforts to get people to develop an appetite for them — states can help limit their ecological harm. Blue Catfish were introduced to tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay in the 1970s and 1980s to establish new fisheries, but their presence has generated concern for native species. Recently, this Workgroup approved an Invasive Catfish Management Strategy (PDF, 21 pages) to guide efforts around the Bay to manage invasive catfish. The Blue Catfish is the largest invasive species of freshwater American Catfish. “blue catfish” caught in the Iowa River was brought in to a sporting goods store here in Iowa City several years ago, only to be positively identified by an IDNR biologist as a male channel cat. Blue catfish have a forked tail, and are sometimes very similar to channel catfish. For the best experience, please use a modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox, or Edge. See. All tags were reward tags, and we offered the choice of a hat or a pin. Again, I don’t doubt that a blue cat makes its way as far up the Mississippi as Minnesota once in a while, and it is feasible that someone has at some point caught one. Blue catfish caught by waterman Rocky Rice are emptied from fish pots on Rice's boat on the Potomac River in Charles County, Md., on Sept. 20, 2017. Adult blue catfish are not bottom feeders, so they don’t get the “muddy” taste some catfish do. Rice can catch up to 1,200 pounds of blue catfish, an invasive species. No purchase necessary. “And we’ve been pretty successful with it. They are now in most of the Bay’s river systems, in Maryland and Virginia’s Eastern and Western Shores. Blue and flathead catfishes are long-lived species that can negatively impact native species in Chesapeake Bay through predation and resource competition. At Ida B’s Table in Baltimore, Chef David Thomas’s customers eat 100 pounds a week. “I love that word, ‘accurate,’ and I have to tell you, we don’t have one,” he says. Fishing and Seafood Industries Saw Broad Declines Last Summer Due to COVID-19, President Signs New Executive Order Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth, Infographic: Value of Chesapeake Bay Oyster Habitat, Eat Your Way to a Healthier You, Me, Country, and Planet, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, Report a Stranded or Injured Marine Animal. Maryland DNR biologist Tim Groves nets a blue catfish caught using electroshocking gear in the Potomac River in 2014. The Blue Catfish has become an invasive species in the Chesapeake Bay because they are voraciously opportunistic predators that daily consume between 8-9% of their body weight (CBP, 2017). In the 1970s, Virginia brought this species to the ponds because it was a wild-growing catfish with an extraordinary taste to the Virginians. Invasive Catfish. They’re also a laughably easy catch. Status: "Blue catfish were introduced to the region in the 1970s, and are now considered an invasive species. And people moved them from one river to another, too. Two characteristics of blue catfish, however, make this standoff different. Adult blue catfish are not bottom feeders, so they don’t get the “muddy” taste some catfish do. Invasive blue catfish only have one known predator: humans. In fact, scientists once caught 6,000 in just an hour. Photo: Dave Harp By Karl Blankenship, Bay Journal News Service. Around British Columbia's Osoyoos Lake, community efforts have revived the population of a fluorescent fish. If you're the lone caretaker of Brooks Island, not going crazy is job one. Chesapeake Bay blue catfish products that are available in grocery and seafood stores are routinely inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This threatens the bay’s sensitive stocks of shad, sturgeon, and herring, but swimming and eating closer to the surface also means they make for more palatable meat. To help people learn how to use these invasive fish in their kitchen, collections of recipes using blue catfish, Blue catfish that live a long time in the Bay can accumulate toxins in their bodies. Blue Catfish. Invasive catfish blue catfish chesapeake bay program these invasive catfish are destroying blue catfish chesapeake bay program. Their greatest enemy, however, may be the Wide Net Project. They were introduced there in the 1970’s and since then they have had a significant impact on native fish and on commercial fishing. New Jersey's Passaic River has been unsafe to fish for decades. Dr. Love’s report from December 2019 titled “Save the Bay: Eat Invasive!” encourages readers to “Fish and eat; then repeat.” “We’re just trying to make the best of a bad situation,” he says. blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus (Lesueur, 1840) About This Subject; View Images Details; View Images; Resources. Further, belonging to the Ictaluridae family or Bullhead Catfishes. Last updated by NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office It’s like any great fish out there,” he told Remsberg Studios. The fish may be having more of an impact on the lives of the Chesapeake region’s human inhabitants than the other way around. 2017). In the Chesapeake Bay region, people consider this fish an invasive species. Internet Explorer lacks support for the features of this website. Channel Catfish. Salinity tolerance of this species, though likely to determine its potential range expansion and dispersal in estuarine habitats, is not well-known. “You have environmental issues, you have food access issues, this is a really good solution for both,” says co-founder and director Wendy Stuart. Not only do they compete with other larger fish for food … they eat those other fish, too. Blue catfish are generalist feeders that prey on a wide variety of species that are locally abundant, including those of economic importance and conservation concern, such as blue crabs, alosines, Atlantic menhaden, American eels, and bay anchovy. Dispatches on the world's most wondrous food and drink, delivered twice a week. If left unchecked, populations of these fish could explode and have disastrous effects on native species and the ecosystem. Their diet changes based on their age and where they live. They have decreased the population of a number of species including Atlantic sturgeon, American shad, blue herring and American eel. Research has helped regulators understand size limits for blue catfish that are healthy to eat. And they include healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, too. Blue Catfish Truth Episode 2: 2017 Invasive Catfish Symposium - Duration: 11:23. The blue catfish are an invasive species to the Chesapeake Bay. Their growing numbers and rapid expansion throughout the region have raised concern about their potential impact on menhaden, blue crabs and other native species that play an important role in our ecosystem and economy." 2011). The fish can grow up to four and a half feet in length and weigh well more than 100 pounds. Unfortunately, the relatively low mortality rate, large body size, wide range of species preyed upon, and success as a predator has resulted in the blue catfish being considered a problematic invasive species in Virginia. Please click below to consent to the use of this technology while browsing our site. But their numbers are not as great as blue catfish and they are more limited to freshwater. “Eradication is out of the question at this point,” says Townsend. We’ve changed so many people’s perception of it.”. Citing a pressing need to better control the spread of blue catfish through commercial harvest, Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is supporting the state General Assembly’s joint resolution that urges Congress to relax inspection rules the agency says hinder the harvest and sale of this invasive species. “The problem is they eat everything.” When they eat enough—and they often do—they can grow to well over 100 pounds. The appearance of this icon denotes a link external to the Federal Government domain. As a result, these apex predators are throwing the food web off balance. Blue catfish have expanded to brackish portions of the estuary, and have been captured in salinities as high as 21.5 ppt (Fabrizio et al. Blue catfish are considered an invasive species in the Chesapeake Bay. He proudly claims to be the first restaurant in Baltimore to serve blue catfish. We hope you enjoyed Maryland's leaf peeping season. People thought that these fish, which like fresh water, would stay in those rivers. They are fun targets for angling because they grow big and can provide a challenge for recreational fishermen. Lacking any known local predators, an estimated 100 million of these hulking invaders now comprise up to 75 percent of the total fish biomass of some Chesapeake rivers, and recent years’ rainfall has only expanded the freshwater species’ stomping grounds. SUBMIT NOW. Get 25% Off & Free Shipping On Your First Order. comm. Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program. A: Body with dark spots (spots may be absent in large adults) B: Outer margin of anal fin rounded, and anal fin with 24 to 29 rays More about channel catfish. The botanical name Ictalurus furcatus is derived from “Ictalurus” which is Greek for “Fish Cat” and “furcatus” which is Latin for “forked”.Therefore, referring to the forked tail fin of the species. should keep their catches to smaller than 30 inches. The region’s call to arms—or rather the dinner table—is only the latest attempt to turn appetites toward solving an ecological problem. Tidal Habitats Support Large Numbers of Invasive Blue Catfish in a Chesapeake Bay Subestuary Estuaries and Coasts , Aug 2017 Mary C. Fabrizio , Troy D. Tuckey , Robert J. Latour , Gary C. White , … Almost any restaurant serving fish in the D.C. area, says Stuart, reserves a place for blue catfish. For the Quinault Indian Nation, restoring their fisheries is a multi-generation project. The blue catfish is threatening the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and is not native to the Bay. EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. Blue Catfish: Invasive and Delicious. Blue catfish is already available in many grocery and seafood stores. Tracking millions of fish across several states and jurisdictions is an uphill, underwater battle. Shrewsbury River Dolphins Signal Cleaner Rivers, More Fish, Dolphins are important sentinels of the health of the marine environment. Much of that concern stems from incredible abundances reported by scientists and fishers, contributing to the belief that a … Not listed as occurring in Idaho by Simpson and Wallace (1978). Blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) and flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) are considered by state agencies to be invasive as they eat almost anything and can grow to over 100 pounds, making them invulnerable to natural predation. "Blue catfish eat everything, including each other, and there aren’t a whole lot of things that eat them once they get a certain size." By way of comparison, the northern snakehead averages about 3 per hectare, and the highly destructive invasive lion fish that threatens native fish populations in the Bahamas and Keys number 101 per hectare. © 2021 Atlas Obscura. Sign up for our email, delivered twice a week. Twenty years ago, chefs would have scoffed at the idea of selling catfish in their restaurants. Since their introduction in Virginia waters in the 1970s, blue catfish populations have exploded. Invasive blue catfish only have one known predator: humans. Every weekday we compile our most wondrous stories and deliver them straight to you. This fact sheet aims to enhance public awareness of this invasive species as a new commercial fishery resource. Follow us on Twitter to get the latest on the world's hidden wonders. Blue catfish represent up to three-quarters of the biomass in the James, Rappahannock and York rivers on Virginia’s western shore of the Chesapeake Bay (Schloesser et al. They were introduced to several rivers on Virginia’s Western Shore decades ago. 1 teaspoon canola oil 1 teaspoon lemon juice 2 catfish fillets (6 ounces each) 1-1/2 teaspoons paprika 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon. NEWSLETTER. The blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) is the largest species of North American catfish, reaching a length of 165 cm (65 in) and a weight of 68 kg (150 lb).The typical length is about 25–46 in (64–117 cm). All rights reserved. WELCOME, Enjoy l uxury, exclusivity and discretion. NOAA Fisheries Disclaimer for External Links. A scientist holds a blue catfish. And resource managers have been working to identify ways to keep the population from getting out of hand. Kambotrout Fishing 456 views. Managers hope to increase public awareness of blue catfish. These older fish also grow quite large. Further, belonging to the Ictaluridae family or Bullhead Catfishes. Invasive Catfish Are Rewriting Chesapeake Bay Cuisine. Winner will be selected at random on 02/01/2021. Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) is the Largest Species of Catfish in North America Blue catfish were introduced to tidal freshwater stretches of the James, York, and Rappahannock rivers during the 1970s and 1980s to enhance recreational fisheries. Blue catfish are considered an invasive species in the Chesapeake Bay. But blue catfish eat basically everything, including blue crabs and other fish. They swam out into the Bay and back into other rivers. The blue catfish are an invasive species to the Chesapeake Bay. Much of that concern stems from incredible abundances reported by scientists and fishers, contributing to the belief that a … They often travel upstream during the reproductive seasons and tend to move back downstream towards estuaries after the mating season. Blue Catfish are known to consume the invasive Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea, in Lake Norman (NC Wildlife Resources Commission, pers. The good news is that this keeps the big fish in the water as a challenge for the anglers who target the larger trophy fish. “People don’t think of catfish as something you can have a glass of wine with—this is the complete opposite. These fish have primarily carnivorous feeding habits, which means that they eat other animals. Ever since it was introduced to Virginia’s waters for sport in the 1970s, the blue catfish has eaten the Chesapeake alive. (PDF, 21 pages) to guide efforts around the Bay to manage invasive catfish. Sign up for our newsletter and enter to win the second edition of our book. “It’s an amazing product,” says John Shields, proprietor chef of Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen. Atlas Obscura and our trusted partners use technology such as cookies on our website to personalise ads, support social media features, and analyse our traffic. Their taste has been likened to striped bass, another Bay favorite. For one, this species of catfish is undeniably good eating. Invasive.org is a joint project of University of Georgia - Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA Forest Service, USDA Identification Technology Program, and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Blue Catfish: Invasive and Delicious. Blue Catfish are known to consume the invasive Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea, in Lake Norman (NC Wildlife Resources Commission, pers. “No one I’ve suggested eating it hasn’t liked it,” says John Shields. “My grandmother had to soak catfish in milk for 24 hours to take out that muddy flavor, but now I don’t have to do that,” says Shields. But blue catfish were able to … Lauded by poets, a Scottish town's hot-smoked haddock may date back to the Vikings. In one hour of electrofishing, researchers caught more than 6,000 invasive catfish! Juvenile Fish Communities Are in Transition on a Long Island Sound Reef. They were introduced to several rivers on Virginia’s Western Shore decades ago. You can join the conversation about this and other stories in the Atlas Obscura Community Forums. Together with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Stuart and her co-founder secured a green rating of sustainability from the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch in 2015, earning blue catfish a spot in retail fridges from Whole Foods to Mom’s Organic Grocers (a regional chain). Blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus, recognized as a freshwater species, is an invasive species in tidal rivers of the Chesapeake Bay. People thought that these fish, which like fresh water, would stay in those rivers. The only hope to preserve the biodiversity of the Chesapeake of tomorrow is to maintain the trend in recent decades of eating invasive. Another reason they brought this catfish in was because they thought this was a good chance for recreational sport fishing. For example, Maryland recommends that recreational anglers fishing for dinner should keep their catches to smaller than 30 inches. Asian carp are a problem, but they're also dinner. Unlike native bottom-feeding catfish, its invasive counterpart came to dominate the entire height of the water column. But mostly this wild splashy fish makes you want to pull up thousands! The botanical name Ictalurus furcatus is derived from “Ictalurus” which is Greek for “Fish Cat” and “furcatus” which is Latin for “forked”.Therefore, referring to the forked tail fin of the species. NOW TREAT YOURSELF! If you would like more information about these licenses, contact our Licensing and Registration Service at 410-260-3220. Follow us on social media to add even more wonder to your day. They’re tasty enough, but can only be caught one at a time by speargun—a process far too inefficient to sustain a market. 1:35. People thought that these fish, which like fresh water, would stay in those rivers. The appearance of this icon denotes a link external to the Federal Government domain. “It has a much cleaner taste with a lovely, firm, yet flakey texture.” The self-described “cheerleader for invasive eating” pan sears blue catfish with creole shrimp and coconut rice at his Baltimore restaurant. With only nine master fishermen left, a centuries-old tradition is at risk. Tag Archives: Invasive Blue Catfish. Blue catfish, the invasive fish with a big appetite that is overwhelming many Chesapeake Bay tributaries, is probably here to stay. The good news is that this keeps the big fish in the water as a challenge for the anglers who target the larger trophy fish. The Chesapeake Bay Program, in which NOAA is a key partner, has an Invasive Catfish Workgroup that has focused on the problem. “Invasivorism” has a long, well-intentioned, but mostly unsuccessful history. Offer available only in the U.S. (including Puerto Rico). Situations that are truly win-win are few and far between. But mostly this wild splashy fish makes you want to pull up thousands! That means the blue catfish you serve your family is tasty, nutritious, and safe. 11:23. The fish can live to 20 years. The Chesapeake Bay Program, in which NOAA is a key partner, has an, that has focused on the problem. Situations that are truly win-win are few and far between. Offer subject to change without notice. “It has no natural predators at all—we’re it. The value used in the 2014 report that currently guides management of invasive Bay catfishes was based on a study of blue catfish from their native range: the fresh waters of the Mississippi River basin. A new management strategy in the Chesapeake Bay aims to put blue catfish on your plate. So the new management strategy includes guidelines to keep fish available from the commercial fishery to below a certain size. The northern snakehead, the feared “frankenfish” that snared headlines when it appeared in the Potomac River in 2004, averages about 3 per hectare. Their taste has been likened to striped bass, another Bay favorite. Some people are happy to see blue catfish. The Invasive Catfish Finfish Trotline License allows you to use a finfish trotline to harvest and sell blue and flathead catfish. Consider supporting our work by becoming a member for as little as $5 a month. They out-compete the native species for both habitats and food. Keep an eye out for the giant sea bass's spots. Research has helped regulators understand size limits for blue catfish that are healthy to eat. Gastro Obscura covers the world’s most wondrous food and drink. Blue catfish are considered an invasive species in the Chesapeake Bay. So the new management strategy includes guidelines to keep fish available from the commercial fishery to below a certain size. 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