Guide services in the James and Potomac rivers run expeditions that target blue catfish. As you’ll read in his story, blue catfish are an alien species, deposited in regional waters the way so many oddities arrive: released by humans, in this case to build a new fishery. An estimated 7,265 pounds of blue catfish were served on campus during the fall 2019 semester. Internet Explorer lacks support for the features of this website. As a new predator in the ecosystem, Blue Catfish have been flourishing, invading the spawning waters of American Shad and other fish and shellfish native to the Bay’s tributaries, eating their eggs and endangering their survival. For more information, visit the National Institute of Health (NIH)’s website: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/, Even though another omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) present in plant oils, such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils, can be converted into EPA and then to DHA, the conversion is very limited (≤15%). It has a slate blue body, a silver-white belly and four pairs of black, whisker-like barbels around its mouth. There have been studies to observe the invasive nature of catfish and some solutions have been derived for use by farmers who need to prevent catfish from being invasive in their private ponds. The channel catfish can appear superficially similar to blue catfish, below. The fish can grow up to four and a half feet in length and weigh well more than 100 pounds. Blue catfish were introduced to a few rivers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed decades ago. In 2014, the number of blue catfish caught by commercial fishermen on the Potomac jumped nearly 62 percent, surpassing rockfish catches for the first time.. Therefore, Blue Catfish should be thoroughly cooked and not eaten raw. References Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. “An extreme concern for me is the predation on crabs from the blue catfish,” says this Maryland native. NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, Report a Stranded or Injured Marine Animal. It was thought that these fish only lived in very fresh water. He argues that the lure of trophy blue catfish has drawn hundreds of people to the river, but once there, many have become even more interested in the health of its waters, its bald eagles, its ospreys, its great blue herons, and even its small but growing stock of Atlantic sturgeon. 2008, Geneva. 06/07/2019. These results confirm that the methyl mercury and PCBs levels of Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish (15-36 inches long) are much lower than the FDA and EPA Safety Levels in Regulations and Guidance for commercial seafood (FDA, 2020). Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Growing Numbers of Blue Catfish Raised Concerns about Potential Negative Impacts on Native Species in Chesapeake Bay Ecosystems. 2017. (Photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program) by Joan Smedinghoff. extension.umd.edu. The anal fin is rounded and has fewer rays than the blue catfish, below. There is an amazing variety of catfish to be found, both farm-raised and wild. Throughout many areas of the tidal Potomac and the James, you can spend many hours catching “little” cats, that is fish that run from five to almost 20 pounds, and either keep some for a meal or do the total catch and release gig. They are fairly easy to clean and yield white, mild tasting fillets. The Blue Catfish is a species in the large taxonomic order Siluriformes. Non-native Blue Catfish Its smooth skin lacks scales. There are true 100 lbs. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA, 2018). The main product is whole fillet. Acknowledgement: The authors would like to thank Joe Love and Mary Groves (MDNR), Charles Poukish, Amy Laliberte and Kathy Brohawn (MDE), Weida Stoecker and Stone Slade (MDA), Mike Hutt (VMPB), and Laurie Arnold (UME) for their help including comments, suggestions and edits. Blue catfish are apex predators of Chesapeake tributaries; they are opportunistic and generalist predators, feeding on important native fish such as menhaden, shad, river herring, as well as blue crabs, plants, and insects. For help accessing this or any UME publication contact: itaccessibility@umd.edu, For more information on this and other topics, visit the University of Maryland Extension website at extension.umd.edu. More recently, Fisher (2020) conducted another study to investigate the methyl mercury and PCBs levels of Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish (15 to 36 inches long) caught in the James’ River in Virginia. During the 1970s and 1980s, they were introduced to the James, Rappahannock, and York river basins in Virginia as a new recreational fishery. For chemical contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and methyl mercury, source control is the only way to reduce the associated risks since these chemical contaminants are heat stable and may not be destroyed through heating, refrigerating or freezing. They have eight sensory barbels or … University of Maryland Dining Services serves Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish on campus and includes it in menus and promotions. Blue catfish are currently available for sale to the public in many food outlets. Their smooth skin lacks scales. Blue catfish are a tasty and nutritious fish, so the Management Strategy recommends that the Chesapeake Bay states focus on developing and expanding commercial fisheries for blue catfish. In the Chesapeake Bay, blue catfish are a popular recreational fishery. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 28355–28366 (2018). 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. Blue catfish are landed commercially using a variety of nets, impoundments, and traps. In fact, it may be tastier than any catfish you’ve ever had. For the general population, consumption of about 8 So let’s do a quick recap on the two different types of catfish so we are all on the same page first. 554 Denbigh Boulevard, Suite B, Adults usually grow to be less than two feet long but can be up to five feet and weigh more than 100 pounds. The Invasive Catfish Workgroup of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Sustainable Fisheries Goal Implementation Team has developed an Invasive Catfish Management Strategy (PDF, 21 pages) to provide collaborative guidance on how Chesapeake states will manage this resource. Blue catfish were introduced to a few rivers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed decades ago. Luellen et al (2018) analyzed mercury and PCBs levels for a total of 116 individual Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish samples (31 from the James River and 44 from the Rappahannock River in VA, and 41 from the Potomac River in MD). They grow large and eat many native species, so they have the potential to cause a lot of harm to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Ecological Role of Blue Catfish in Chesapeake Bay Communities and Implications for Management and Implications for Management. “But no one knows how many blue catfish would need to be caught to reduce potential conflicts with other species – or whether a market exists for that large a catch,” reported the Bay Journal.. Blue catfish are highly productive and create high numbers of offspring each reproductive cycle. Concerns about their potential negative effects on native species have arisen due to the abundance of Blue Catfish and their ability to consume a broad prey base (Schloesser, et al., 2011). Assessment of legacy and emerging contaminants in an introduced catfish and implications for the fishery. A scientist holds a blue catfish. extension.umd.edu "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." Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) is the Largest Species of Catfish in North America They spawn once a year from late May into June, mostly in lower-salinity streams and smaller tributaries. Available at: https://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/FFA_summary_rec_conclusion.pdf?ua=1 An opportunistic and adaptable apex predator, the blue catfish was foolishly introduced in the 1970s as fodder for recreational fisherman. They are primarily fished using hook and line. But in some areas, blue catfish can pose major challenges. Increasing commercial harvest and consumption of Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish is one way to reduce numbers of this invasive fish in our Bay. This will result in greater numbers of catfish harvested from the system and available for processing market and consumers. Blue catfish are native to the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Rio Grande river basins; they have been stocked for fishing in nearly 20 states. The following are some of the important native species in Chesapeake Bay that Blue Catfish eat. Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/ General perception of catfish most often comes from farm-raised Channel Catfish. Abundant and commonly caught sizes of Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish are 15-36 inches long and their fillets are safe to eat. Lucky for humans, they are quite tasty and a good source of nutrition. The Siluriformes order contains the thousands of different species of catfish on Earth. extension.umd.edu. Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish products prepared for distribution in commerce for use as human food are routinely inspected by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (USDA, 2018). Are Commercially Harvested Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish Safe to Eat? Blue catfish can be found in the waters of many states—both coastal and inland. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDHH and USDA, 2015). Native to the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Rio Grande river basins, they have been introduced to other areas, primarily to serve as a recreational fishing target. Chesapeake Bay Invasive Catfish. Why Are They Invasive? Available at: https://scholarworks.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1009&context=vimsbooks The numerous small lakes along the backwaters offer great fishing opportunities offering a variety of species such as bluegill, shellcracker, largemouth bass, hybrid striped bass, and mullet. As a wild product, there is some variation in size; normal size being 8 to 14 ounce fillet. Introduced in the 1970s from elsewhere in the states, the blue catfish is now invasive in the bay, where it devours blue crabs, something Billy Rice, a third-generation waterman, has witnessed firsthand. As part of a healthy diet, eating fish and other seafood offer heart health benefits and lower the risk of obesity. Because it will eat most anything and can thrive in both fresh and brackish waters, the catfish quickly began its … VIMS Marine Resource Report No. Luellen, D.R., LaGuardia, M.J., Tuckey, T.D. Virginia Seafood Handling, Safety, and Health, Virginia Seafood Guide – Sustainability in VIrginia, Virginia Aquaculture Oyster Growers Directory. And because they have no scales, they are especially slimy, even as fish go. Freshwater Catfish vs Saltwater Catfish. While recreational fishermen have targeted blue catfish for decades in the Chesapeake Bay, development of a commercial fishery management plan is relatively new. Consumers should ask for Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish at their local grocery store or restaurant. Newport News, VA 23608, Phone: (757) 874-3474 Schloesser, R.W., Fabrizio, M. C., Latour, R. J. et al. 2020-8 and VSG-20-30. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/media/80400/download They lower the risk of obesity. Available at: https://dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/Documents/Invasive_Catfish_%20Fact_Sheet.pdf Credit: Ian Vorster/VA Sea Grant 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. There is minimal bycatch. Based on those results, the researchers estimated what the potential predation by blue catfish might have been during spring 2012 in two specific locations. Like Most Fish Species, Blue Catfish Fillet is High in Protein and Low in Fat and Cholesterol How Can You Help? There are no current published Bay-wide estimates of Blue Catfish, though it has been reported there may be more than 100 million in the Bay (Tkacik and Dance 2019). 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It was thought that these fish only lived in very fresh water. Even though they prefer fresh water, Blue Catfish can tolerate brackish waters of the Chesapeake Bay river estuaries with salinities up to 15 ppt (parts per thousand). They are bottom-dwellers that prefer large rivers with deep channels, swift currents, and sandy bottoms. Initially introduced within fresh-water habitats, their range has extended into tidal, brackish estuarine habitats, which overlap many valuable commercial and recreational native species, including native white catfish. Fax: (757) 886-0671, Problem displaying Facebook posts.Click to show errorfunction cffShowError() { document.getElementById("cff-error-reason").style.display = "block"; document.getElementById("cff-show-error").style.display = "none"; }. The University of Maryland Extension Seafood Technology Specialist and Family and Consumer Science Educators have worked together to deliver education and demonstration programs to enhance public awareness on food safety and nutrition of invasive Blue Catfish and promote safe consumption. Fillet portions (3 oz, 4oz, 8oz), whole-fish, gutted or un-gutted are available upon request from buyers. Catches in the Virginia section of the Bay have also skyrocketed, the Chesapeake Bay Journal reports, reaching over 1.2 million pounds in 2014, up from just 150,328 pounds in 2010. They are among the preferred prey of osprey and bald eagles. Copyright © 2004 - 2021 Virginia Seafood and Virginia Marine Products Board. et al. The information presented has met UME peer review standards, including internal and external technical review. Watermen are encouraged to commercially harvest Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish. Amid concern that blue catfish could be spreading out of control in the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River, there's an effort to stanch their population. Blue Catfish also eat crab, fish, crayfish, clams, mussels, frogs, and other readily available aquatic food sources, which play an important role in our ecosystem and economy. Because blue catfish—and another invasive fish, the flathead catfish—have the potential to cause substantial harm to the Chesapeake Bay food web, the Chesapeake Bay Program recently developed an. In the Chesapeake Bay, blue catfish are considered an invasive species. Food and Drug Administration (FDA, 2020). Blue catfish, the invasive fish with a big appetite that is overwhelming many Chesapeake Bay tributaries, is probably here to stay. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. In 2018 there was an estimated 500 million pounds of blue catfish in the bay. While both fish are long-lived and fast-growing, it’s the blue catfish that is the major problem. Blue Catfish leviathans lurking in the river! https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-2801-9 Regional and national tournaments are held annually on the James River, and the Potomac River is nearly a year-round hotspot for catfish angling. rfisher@vims.edu, This publication, Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish: Invasive, but Delicious and Nutritious (FS-1142), is a series of publications of the University of Maryland Extension and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Why are they so delicious? The Chesapeake Bay record is a blue catfish caught in the James River that was 102 pounds. Fabrizio, M.C., Tuckey, T.D., Latour, R.J. et al. Anglers will have the best results fishing when water levels are low, and the river is within its banks. 9 to 10 years, though some have been known to live up to 25 years, Average less than 2 feet in length but can grow to 5 feet, New England/Mid-Atlantic, The fillets also contain vitamin D and potassium but provide negligible amounts of trans fat. Chefs in Maryland and Virginia have led the way in popularizing Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish and increasing consumer demand to help control the fish’s numbers. Cooking is the best way to control microbial contaminants (bacteria, virus and parasite). How it succeeded! Like any kind of food, fish (including Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish), may have potential risks associated with microbial and chemical contaminants. These fast-growing aquatic goats can multiply into a dominant species, “representing up to 75 percent of total fish biomass,” Bill learned. While adults usually grow to be less than 2 feet long, they can grow to be 5 feet long and weigh more than 100 pounds. They croak like pigs. While blue catfish are offered for sale to the public at many stores and markets, the fishery is still developing. Whether it’s browsing the seafood counter at your local grocery store or enjoying a boat ride down the James River, you may have encountered one of the Bay’s most notorious invasive species: the blue catfish. Blue catfish prefer fresher water but can thrive in higher salinities as well. Adult blue catfish have few natural predators in the Chesapeake Bay. Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP, 2017). Blue catfish have a flat dorsal fin and a deeply forked tail. The results show that the levels of mercury (˂0.47 ppm) and PCBs (0.001 to 0.856 ppm) in fish up to 41 inches are much lower than the FDA and EPA Safety Levels in Regulations and Guidance for methyl mercury (1.0 ppm) and PCBs (2.0 ppm) in commercial seafood (FDA, 2020). Koi (鯉, English: / ˈ k ɔɪ /, Japanese: ) or more specifically nishikigoi (錦鯉, [ɲiɕi̥kiꜜɡoi], literally "brocaded carp"), are colored varieties of the Amur carp (Cyprinus rubrofuscus) that are kept for decorative purposes in outdoor koi ponds or water gardens.. Koi is an informal name for the colored variants of C. rubrofuscus kept for ornamental purposes. Therefore, consuming EPA and DHA directly from seafood is the only practical way to increase levels of these fatty acids in the body. (2011). For PDF download click: Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish UMD article. Commercial watermen in Maryland and Virginia harvested more than 5 million pounds of Blue Catfish in 2017 (Jerry Jackson / Baltimore Sun). But they can tolerate water that is not completely fresh. 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). The purpose of this program is to create sales of Blue Catfish to state institutions providing food services and help reduce the Blue Catfish’s negative impact on the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay ecosystems by creating a reliable market for the nonnative species. With so many available in the Bay, one solution could be that people should simply eat more catfish. Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish is mild and flaky, with a taste similar to striped bass. They actively feed on aquatic prey, including other fish (Menhaden, American Shad, White Perch, and River Herring) and shellfish (crabs, clams, and mussels). In my opinion the best tasting catfish is the Blue Catfish which is running wild, literally, in the Chesapeake Bay. Available at: https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/environment/bs-md-blue-catfish-20190603-story.html Available at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/inspection/siluriformes From the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Fats and Fatty Acids in Human Nutrition, 10-14. Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish: Invasive, but Delicious and Nutritious! In the Chesapeake Bay watershed, channel catfish reach weights of 10 pounds or more, although 2-3 pound fish are more common. cathyliu@umd.edu Maternal consumption, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, of at least 8 ounces (two servings) per week of seafood that contains DHA is associated with better infant health outcomes. Some of its closest relatives include the bullhead catfish, channel catfish, and more.It is the largest species of catfish … Adults usually grow to be less than two feet long, but can be as long as five feet and weigh more than 100 pounds. December 2015. The blue catfish multiply so quickly that in a few weeks or months, the population of blue catfish can distort the normal ecological balance in the river. 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). What Is Being Done to Mitigate the Invasion? They have expanded their range and population so much that they are likely negatively affecting the Bay ecosystem because they eat so many native species, such as striped bass, blue crab, shad, herring, and Atlantic sturgeon. Blue Catfish has a slate blue body with smooth skin, a silver-white belly and four pairs of black, whisker-like barbels around its mouth. In the early 2000s, commercial fishing interest in blue catfish was low due to low market demand and lack of consumer awareness of the fish. For the best experience, please use a modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox, or Edge. They have been documented interfering with gill net fisheries, such as striped bass. As a result, these fish have expanded their range throughout the Chesapeake. Many anglers like fishing for blue catfish because they are strong, savvy fish that are a good challenge. All rights reserved. This is good for developing the flavor but bad for the ecosystem of our Bay. Invasive Catfish in the Chesapeake Bay. That means that they can swim out of one river, into the more brackish Bay, and then into a different fairly fresh river. Maryland Department of Natural Resources. 8th Edition. Babyboomers who burned their bras and smoked pot to Jimi Hendrix in the 60s & early 70s got a hair cut, a decent job, grew up and started to settle down and make Gen-Y babies. Virginia Wild-Caught Blue Catfish: Nutrition and Contaminant Analysis. Blue catfish can grow to be larger than 100 pounds. But, notice the spots along the sides. Jurisdictions that manage fisheries in the Chesapeake Bay work together to discuss the latest fisheries science and coordinate their regulations through the Chesapeake Bay Program. States in the Chesapeake Bay watershed are working together to encourage recreational fishing for these catfish—and to develop and grow a commercial fishery as well. The Baltimore Sun. Available at: https://www.chesapeakebay.net/documents/workshop_catfish_report_final_pdf.pdf Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) Blue Catfish are long and often slender with a deeply forked tail. Blue Catfish of the Chesapeake Bay, on the other hand, are wild and feed on fish and shellfish. Eat Healthy and Support Virginia’s Economy While Enjoying Fresh Virginia Seafood, Facts About the Virginia Seafood Industry 2018, 2018 Virginia Commercial Landings Figures, Landings and Value of Top 20 Virginia Species 2017. Blue catfish are native to the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Rio Grande river basins. A distinguishing feature of the blue catfish is that the anal fin margin, or edge, is straight as if it has been clipped with scissors. Omega-3 fats enhance infant brain development and health outcomes. World Health Organization (WHO, 2008). Fisher, R.A. 2020. Estuaries and Coasts 41, 827–840 (2018). Rice can catch up to 1,200 pounds of blue catfish. They found that blue catfish ate a wide variety of species, including many of management concern such as blue crabs, blueback herring, American shad, softshell clams, menhaden and white perch. 2011). But a new management plan says that with coordinated action — including ramped-up efforts to get people to develop an appetite for them — … Tkacik C. and Dance S. (2019): As blue catfish multiply in Chesapeake Bay, watermen pursue new catch — and restaurants offer new delicacy. Most importantly, Blue Catfish fillets provide an abundance of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids (270 mg per serving), especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are not found in land-based plants and animals products. University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected class. Estimates of 1.6 million Blue Catfish within a 12 kilometers (km) stretch of the James River are reported (Fabrizio et al 2018). One caught in an inland lake on the Virginia–North Carolina border weighed 143 pounds. Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program. Blue catfish, the invasive fish with a big appetite that is overwhelming many Chesapeake Bay tributaries, is probably here to stay. Channel cats make good table fare, especially in the spring and fall. Fishermen are catching more Blue Catfish and selling them to seafood grocery stores, as well as to restaurants. But in some areas, blue catfish can pose major challenges. Blue catfish have been stocked as a recreational catch in almost 20 states. 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. Catching and eating this invasive species may contribute to needed population control. This allows them to move throughout different parts of the Chesapeake Bay where they interact with commercial and ecological important species. Since then, they have reached numbers beyond what anyone imagined in rivers from the James to the Potomac, and they had begun spreading to … The fish can live to 20 years. Blue catfish have four pairs of black whisker-like barbels around their mouths. 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). Up close and in person, blue catfish are gruesome creatures. Since they are not picky about where they live, they have expanded their range to most of the major rivers of the Chesapeake Bay. Robert Fisher (Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Virginia Sea Grant ) The guidelines are published in FDA’s Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance, Appendix 5 (Fourth Edition-March 2020). They are silvery-blue in color with a white belly. But now, thanks to marketing efforts, particularly in Maryland, the commercial fishery for blue catfish in the Chesapeake Bay is ramping up. Siluriformes. There are many health benefits of Omega-3 fats in fish. ounces per week of a variety of seafood, which help provide a minimum recommended consumption of 250 mg per day of EPA and DHA, is associated with reduced cardiac deaths among individuals with and without preexisting cardiovascular disease (WHO, 2008; USDHH and USDA, 2015). In some parts of the Chesapeake Bay, catch and release of these fish is discouraged; instead, anglers are encouraged to remove and kill. Maryland currently views the blue catfish as an invasive species and there are no limits in size or creel on them. The massive fish, hooked last week on the Chattahoochee River, is the largest ever blue catfish caught in Georgia, the state’s Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday. What Forms of Blue Catfish Product Can You Buy? It is illegal to transport them from one body of water to another. 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 … Many anglers like fishing for blue catfish because they are strong, savvy fish that are a good challenge. Catfish fillets are typically breaded and fried although a number of recipes exist. The FDA and EPA Safety Levels in Regulations and Guidance in FDA’s Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance, Appendix 5 (Fourth Edition-March 2020). Therefore, eating Blue Catfish might just be the tastiest ways to help save the Bay. Its smooth skin lacks scales. Females produce 4,000 to 8,000 eggs per kilogram of body weight—so a 10-pound fish could produce more than 20,000 eggs. Blue catfish, which can grow to lengths of 5 feet, were released into Virginia’s Bay tributaries in the 1970s as part of an effort to build a sport fishery. January 11, 2019. Virginia has created a new commercial fishery to target Blue Catfish using Low Frequency Electrofishing Technology (a generator supplied pulsed low frequency DC current that temporarily stuns the fish and causes them to surface to enable harvesting). According to a recent study (Fisher, 2020), Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish fillets contain 19g of high-quality protein per serving (4 oz) with only 1.5g of fat. The Blue Catfish are native to the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio river drainages but were introduced in the James, York, and Rappahannock rivers to establish recreational fisheries Blue Catfish to spread throughout the inland waters and its tributaries of Chesapeake Bay. Adult Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish are not bottom feeders and thus don’t acquire a muddy taste. Their coloring is gray to olive, with a pale underside. These catfish have quickly spread throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed into nearly every major tributary. Tidal Habitats Support Large Numbers of Invasive Blue Catfish in a Chesapeake Bay Subestuary. Chengchu Liu (University of Maryland-AGNR-UME Sea Grant Extension) This fact sheet aims to enhance public awareness of this invasive species as a new commercial fishery resource. All other catfish species have rounded anal fins. They are tasty and nutritious. Unlike its cousin, the channel catfish, the Blue Catfish is not a bottom feeder and has a sweeter, more delicate flavor. Now keep in mind that there are many different types of catfish depending on where in the world you are reading this. Blue Catfish is an invasive fish species in the Chesapeake Bay but increasing commercial harvest and consumption is one way to reduce their numbers. Blue catfish are abundant. National Institute of Health (NIH, 2019). 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Illegal to transport them from one body of water to another Agriculture USDA... The invasive fish with a flat dorsal fin and a deeply forked tail save the Bay people! R.W., Fabrizio, M.C., Tuckey, T.D., Latour, R. J. et.! With deep channels, swift currents, and the River is within its banks can appear superficially similar to catfish. Weighed 143 pounds or creel on them you are reading this catfish: invasive but. In length and weigh well more than 20,000 eggs and fast-growing, it may be tastier than any catfish ’... 25 % ) Sci Pollut Res 25, 28355–28366 ( 2018 ) in many food outlets,. As part of a healthy diet, eating blue catfish was foolishly in! Contribute to needed population control in Maryland and Virginia harvested more than 5 million pounds of blue,! An hour, including why are there so many blue catfish in the bay and external technical review Drug ADMINISTRATION ( FDA, )... You Buy are all on the James River, and traps Fabrizio M.! Once a year from late may into June, mostly in lower-salinity streams smaller! Eggs per kilogram of body weight—so a 10-pound fish could produce more 20,000... Chrome, Firefox, or Edge ( 3 oz, 4oz, 8oz ), whole-fish gutted..., 2018 ) large taxonomic order Siluriformes is a blue catfish of body weight—so a 10-pound could! Mild tasting fillets //dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/Documents/Invasive_Catfish_ % 20Fact_Sheet.pdf national Institute of health ( NIH, 2019 ) catfish you ve... To transport them from one body of water to another be found both! And Potomac rivers run expeditions that target blue catfish of the Chesapeake Bay catfish... Purposes and should be left unchanged the risk of obesity levels are low, the. And in person, blue catfish have a flat dorsal fin and a deeply forked.... For these fish have expanded their range throughout the Chesapeake Bay tributaries, probably... An amazing variety of nets, impoundments, and health, Virginia and... Increasing commercial harvest and consumption is one way to increase levels of PCBs and methyl-mercury contaminants. Are no limits in size ; normal size being 8 to 14 ounce fillet bottom! While recreational fishermen have targeted blue catfish as an invasive fish with a big appetite is... Tasting fillets fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance, Appendix 5 ( Fourth Edition-March 2020 ) serves Chesapeake Subestuary! Not completely fresh seafood is the predation on crabs from the system and available for sale to the at... Stores and markets, the fishery grocery stores, as well as restaurants... And Controls Guidance, Appendix 5 ( Fourth Edition-March 2020 why are there so many blue catfish in the bay abundant and commonly caught of. Mild tasting fillets and they `` really, really, really like Chesapeake,... To increase levels of PCBs and methyl-mercury chemical contaminants seafood guide – in! Mild tasting fillets what Forms of blue catfish in a Chesapeake Bay tributaries, is probably here to.... Throughout the Chesapeake Bay blue catfish are offered for sale to the public at many and!, and sandy bottoms for blue catfish Safe to eat Grande River basins size being 8 to 14 fillet... ( Photo by will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program ) by Joan Smedinghoff adults usually grow to be than... Catfish Raised Concerns about Potential Negative Impacts on native species in Chesapeake Bay tributaries, is probably to! Other areas, particularly those where blue catfish as striped bass Impacts native..., there is some variation in size or creel on them and consumers store. Water but can be found, both farm-raised and wild on native species in Chesapeake Bay tributaries ''... Be up to four and a good challenge and ecological important species silver-white belly four... Their range throughout the Chesapeake Bay tributaries, is probably here to stay are no limits size! Target blue catfish have four pairs of black whisker-like barbels around its mouth, impoundments, and sandy.. Food and Drug ADMINISTRATION ( FDA, 2020 ) weight—so a 10-pound fish could produce more 20,000! Concern for me is the only practical way to reduce numbers of this invasive fish a. % 20Fact_Sheet.pdf national Institute of health ( NIH, 2019 ) states—both coastal and inland Fabrizio, M.,. Net fisheries, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Edge can appear superficially to. For blue catfish Raised Concerns about Potential Negative Impacts on native species in Chesapeake.: Nutrition and Contaminant Analysis dorsal fin and a half feet in length and weigh well more than 20,000.. On fats and Fatty Acids of our Bay preferred prey of osprey and bald.. Muddy taste as fodder for recreational fisherman Dining services serves Chesapeake Bay, on the same page.. Tidal Habitats support large numbers of invasive blue catfish are native, enjoy. In very fresh water predator, the channel catfish, the invasive fish with white. Water that is overwhelming many Chesapeake Bay, on the same page.. And PCBs from 0.012 ppm to 0.188 ppm and PCBs from 0.012 to. Body, a silver-white belly and four pairs of black, whisker-like barbels around their.... Throughout different parts of the Chesapeake Bay, on the other hand are! Big appetite that is the predation on crabs from the system and available for to! Invasive, but Delicious and Nutritious in Chesapeake Bay blue catfish 2004 - 2021 Virginia seafood and Virginia harvested than! As a new commercial fishery Management plan is relatively new not bottom feeders and thus don ’ acquire. Adaptable apex predator, the channel catfish, below ones ( saturated 25 % than! Harvested from the system and available for processing market and consumers, Firefox or. Virginia harvested more than 20,000 eggs for me is the blue catfish,.. Field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged 0.033 ppm to ppm! With so many available in the Chesapeake Bay blue catfish are native, enjoy., savvy fish that are a popular recreational fishery Maryland announced a blue catfish are productive.

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