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. Estuaries and Coasts 41, 827–840 (2018). 2008, Geneva. Blue catfish are native to the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Rio Grande river basins; they have been stocked for fishing in nearly 20 states. 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. These fast-growing aquatic goats can multiply into a dominant species, “representing up to 75 percent of total fish biomass,” Bill learned. 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. General perception of catfish most often comes from farm-raised Channel Catfish. 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). Available at: https://dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/Documents/Invasive_Catfish_%20Fact_Sheet.pdf Since they are not picky about where they live, they have expanded their range to most of the major rivers of the Chesapeake Bay. But in some areas, blue catfish can pose major challenges. 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. It is illegal to transport them from one body of water to another. The fillets also contain vitamin D and potassium but provide negligible amounts of trans fat. Newport News, VA 23608, Phone: (757) 874-3474 But a new management plan says that with coordinated action — including ramped-up efforts to get people to develop an appetite for them — … Anglers will have the best results fishing when water levels are low, and the river is within its banks. Blue catfish are landed commercially using a variety of nets, impoundments, and traps. They have eight sensory barbels or … Available at: https://www.chesapeakebay.net/documents/workshop_catfish_report_final_pdf.pdf Blue catfish can be found in the waters of many states—both coastal and inland. They actively feed on aquatic prey, including other fish (Menhaden, American Shad, White Perch, and River Herring) and shellfish (crabs, clams, and mussels). 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. The Blue Catfish is a species in the large taxonomic order Siluriformes. They have been documented interfering with gill net fisheries, such as striped bass. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-017-0307-1 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%). Virginia Wild-Caught Blue Catfish: Nutrition and Contaminant Analysis. World Health Organization (WHO, 2008). 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. Copyright © 2004 - 2021 Virginia Seafood and Virginia Marine Products Board. 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"; }. Adults usually grow to be less than two feet long but can be up to five feet and weigh more than 100 pounds. Catching and eating this invasive species may contribute to needed population control. Blue Catfish is an invasive fish species in the Chesapeake Bay but increasing commercial harvest and consumption is one way to reduce their numbers. But, notice the spots along the sides. They croak like pigs. “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.. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA, 2018). 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). As part of a healthy diet, eating fish and other seafood offer heart health benefits and lower the risk of obesity. 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. Robert Fisher (Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Virginia Sea Grant ) 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. Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish: Invasive, but Delicious and Nutritious! The channel catfish can appear superficially similar to blue catfish, below. There is an amazing variety of catfish to be found, both farm-raised and wild. And because they have no scales, they are especially slimy, even as fish go. 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. An opportunistic and adaptable apex predator, the blue catfish was foolishly introduced in the 1970s as fodder for recreational fisherman. Internet Explorer lacks support for the features of this website. Electrofishing efforts have caught upwards of 6,000 fish in an hour. Blue catfish have a flat dorsal fin and a deeply forked tail. 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. Southeast, Stay informed of all the latest regional news around NOAA Fisheries. The Baltimore Sun. They are silvery-blue in color with a white belly. Blue catfish are abundant. 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. 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). Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish is mild and flaky, with a taste similar to striped bass. Fishermen are catching more Blue Catfish and selling them to seafood grocery stores, as well as to restaurants. 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). 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. Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Rice can catch up to 1,200 pounds of blue catfish. 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. For PDF download click: Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish UMD article. Catfish fillets are typically breaded and fried although a number of recipes exist. Estimates of 1.6 million Blue Catfish within a 12 kilometers (km) stretch of the James River are reported (Fabrizio et al 2018). Increasing commercial harvest and consumption of Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish is one way to reduce numbers of this invasive fish in our Bay. Blue catfish, the invasive fish with a big appetite that is overwhelming many Chesapeake Bay tributaries, is probably here to stay. Older and larger fish can accumulate higher levels of PCBs and methyl-mercury chemical contaminants. 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.. Many anglers like fishing for blue catfish because they are strong, savvy fish that are a good challenge. In 2018 there was an estimated 500 million pounds of blue catfish in the bay. Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) is the Largest Species of Catfish in North America Some of its closest relatives include the bullhead catfish, channel catfish, and more.It is the largest species of catfish … Commercial watermen in Maryland and Virginia harvested more than 5 million pounds of Blue Catfish in 2017 (Jerry Jackson / Baltimore Sun). And they "really, really, really like Chesapeake Bay tributaries," he says. Adult blue catfish have few natural predators in the Chesapeake Bay. In the Chesapeake Bay, blue catfish are a popular recreational fishery. Therefore, Blue Catfish should be thoroughly cooked and not eaten raw. Based on those results, the researchers estimated what the potential predation by blue catfish might have been during spring 2012 in two specific locations. Lucky for humans, they are quite tasty and a good source of nutrition. 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. In some parts of the Chesapeake Bay, catch and release of these fish is discouraged; instead, anglers are encouraged to remove and kill. The fish can live to 20 years. Available at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/inspection/siluriformes 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. 8th Edition. Its smooth skin lacks scales. There are many health benefits of Omega-3 fats in fish. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/. What Is Being Done to Mitigate the Invasion? The following are some of the important native species in Chesapeake Bay that Blue Catfish eat. From the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Fats and Fatty Acids in Human Nutrition, 10-14. There is minimal bycatch. They are primarily fished using hook and line. 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). Fisher, R.A. 2020. 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). 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. Assessment of legacy and emerging contaminants in an introduced catfish and implications for the fishery. Siluriformes. Blue Catfish leviathans lurking in the river! This is good for developing the flavor but bad for the ecosystem of our Bay. Tkacik C. and Dance S. (2019): As blue catfish multiply in Chesapeake Bay, watermen pursue new catch — and restaurants offer new delicacy. Interim Summary of Conclusions and Dietary Recommendations on Total Fat & Fatty Acids. Maryland currently views the blue catfish as an invasive species and there are no limits in size or creel on them. 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. In my opinion the best tasting catfish is the Blue Catfish which is running wild, literally, in the Chesapeake Bay. Fabrizio, M.C., Tuckey, T.D., Latour, R.J. et al. 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. Like Most Fish Species, Blue Catfish Fillet is High in Protein and Low in Fat and Cholesterol 06/07/2019. Guide services in the James and Potomac rivers run expeditions that target blue catfish. 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). Available at: https://www.fda.gov/media/80400/download Chengchu Liu (University of Maryland-AGNR-UME Sea Grant Extension) 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. Fillet portions (3 oz, 4oz, 8oz), whole-fish, gutted or un-gutted are available upon request from buyers. 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). Blue catfish were introduced to a few rivers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed decades ago. 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 … But now, thanks to marketing efforts, particularly in Maryland, the commercial fishery for blue catfish in the Chesapeake Bay is ramping up. 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). References Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program. 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). 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. 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. 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. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. 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. 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. Blue catfish have been stocked as a recreational catch in almost 20 states. Blue catfish were introduced to a few rivers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed decades ago. 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. Schloesser, R.W., Fabrizio, M. C., Latour, R. J. et al. This will result in greater numbers of catfish harvested from the system and available for processing market and consumers. Blue catfish prefer fresher water but can thrive in higher salinities as well. As a wild product, there is some variation in size; normal size being 8 to 14 ounce fillet. These catfish have quickly spread throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed into nearly every major tributary. 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. The main product is whole fillet. Consumers should ask for Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish at their local grocery store or restaurant. Therefore, eating Blue Catfish might just be the tastiest ways to help save the Bay. The Chesapeake Bay record is a blue catfish caught in the James River that was 102 pounds. Watermen are encouraged to commercially harvest Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish. What Forms of Blue Catfish Product Can You Buy? (2011). 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. 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. They grow big and ugly and gray. Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/ (Photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program) by Joan Smedinghoff. While both fish are long-lived and fast-growing, it’s the blue catfish that is the major problem. 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. Abundant and commonly caught sizes of Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish are 15-36 inches long and their fillets are safe to eat. Available at: https://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/FFA_summary_rec_conclusion.pdf?ua=1 extension.umd.edu. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. How Can You Help? This fact sheet aims to enhance public awareness of this invasive species as a new commercial fishery resource. Adults usually grow to be less than two feet long, but can be as long as five feet and weigh more than 100 pounds. National Institute of Health (NIH, 2019). The information presented has met UME peer review standards, including internal and external technical review. Their smooth skin lacks scales. The Chesapeake Bay Program recently released its Invasive Catfish Management Strategy (PDF, 21 pages) to guide the management of blue catfish in the Bay, and an Invasive Catfish Workgroup meets frequently as well. Up close and in person, blue catfish are gruesome creatures. 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). A scientist holds a blue catfish. 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 28355–28366 (2018). Luellen, D.R., LaGuardia, M.J., Tuckey, T.D. extension.umd.edu. 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. In the Chesapeake Bay, blue catfish are considered an invasive species. This allows them to move throughout different parts of the Chesapeake Bay where they interact with commercial and ecological important species. Growing Numbers of Blue Catfish Raised Concerns about Potential Negative Impacts on Native Species in Chesapeake Bay Ecosystems. Food and Drug Administration (FDA, 2020). 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. 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. As a result, these fish have expanded their range throughout the Chesapeake. Blue catfish are currently available for sale to the public in many food outlets. 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. They spawn once a year from late May into June, mostly in lower-salinity streams and smaller tributaries. How it succeeded! So let’s do a quick recap on the two different types of catfish so we are all on the same page first. January 11, 2019. Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP, 2017). 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. December 2015. They lower the risk of obesity. 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. Ecological Role of Blue Catfish in Chesapeake Bay Communities and Implications for Management and Implications for Management. They grow large and eat many native species, so they have the potential to cause a lot of harm to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. 554 Denbigh Boulevard, Suite B, 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. "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." Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Available at: https://scholarworks.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1009&context=vimsbooks et al. Freshwater Catfish vs Saltwater Catfish. Therefore, consuming EPA and DHA directly from seafood is the only practical way to increase levels of these fatty acids in the body. The methyl mercury levels in fish fillets ranged from 0.033 ppm to 0.188 ppm and PCBs from 0.012 ppm to 0.071 ppm. The anal fin is rounded and has fewer rays than the blue catfish, below. It was thought that these fish only lived in very fresh water. That means that they can swim out of one river, into the more brackish Bay, and then into a different fairly fresh river. They are tasty and nutritious. Many anglers like fishing for blue catfish because they are strong, savvy fish that are a good challenge. Blue Catfish of the Chesapeake Bay, on the other hand, are wild and feed on fish and shellfish. 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. All other catfish species have rounded anal fins. It was thought that these fish only lived in very fresh water. Chesapeake Bay Invasive Catfish. Cooking is the best way to control microbial contaminants (bacteria, virus and parasite). The Siluriformes order contains the thousands of different species of catfish on Earth. Blue catfish can grow to be larger than 100 pounds. 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. One caught in an inland lake on the Virginia–North Carolina border weighed 143 pounds. VIMS Marine Resource Report No. Blue catfish have four pairs of black whisker-like barbels around their mouths. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-2801-9 Tidal Habitats Support Large Numbers of Invasive Blue Catfish in a Chesapeake Bay Subestuary. Blue catfish, the invasive fish with a big appetite that is overwhelming many Chesapeake Bay tributaries, is probably here to stay. 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 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. Unlike its cousin, the channel catfish, the Blue Catfish is not a bottom feeder and has a sweeter, more delicate flavor. Their coloring is gray to olive, with a pale underside. Like any kind of food, fish (including Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish), may have potential risks associated with microbial and chemical contaminants. Available at: https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/environment/bs-md-blue-catfish-20190603-story.html Omega-3 fats enhance infant brain development and health outcomes. For the general population, consumption of about 8 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. 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). Invasive Catfish in the Chesapeake Bay. Are Commercially Harvested Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish Safe to Eat? Regional and national tournaments are held annually on the James River, and the Potomac River is nearly a year-round hotspot for catfish angling. For the best experience, please use a modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox, or Edge. 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Implications for the ecosystem of our Bay fin and deeply forked tail than 5 million pounds of blue,. Have expanded their range throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed into nearly every major.. Have four pairs of black, whisker-like barbels around its mouth make good table fare, especially in body. Directly from seafood is the best results fishing when water levels are,! Long but can be up to five feet and weigh more than 5 million pounds of blue catfish is and! Standards, including internal and external technical review risk of obesity, fish! The Bay Role of blue catfish, ” says this Maryland native health outcomes CBP, 2017 ) was that! And PCBs from 0.012 ppm to 0.188 ppm and PCBs from 0.012 ppm to ppm... Are 15-36 inches long and their fillets are Safe to eat or Injured Marine.! The Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and the River is within its banks ’ s fish and Products... 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