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, This allows them to move throughout different parts of the Chesapeake Bay where they interact with commercial and ecological important species. Estimates of 1.6 million Blue Catfish within a 12 kilometers (km) stretch of the James River are reported (Fabrizio et al 2018). Newport News, VA 23608, Phone: (757) 874-3474 Since then, they have reached numbers beyond what anyone imagined in rivers from the James to the Potomac, and they had begun spreading to … This is good for developing the flavor but bad for the ecosystem of our Bay. In the Chesapeake Bay, blue catfish are considered an invasive species. The Chesapeake Bay record is a blue catfish caught in the James River that was 102 pounds. National Institute of Health (NIH, 2019). 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). An estimated 7,265 pounds of blue catfish were served on campus during the fall 2019 semester. "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." 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. They are silvery-blue in color with a white belly. Chengchu Liu (University of Maryland-AGNR-UME Sea Grant Extension) 8th Edition. Ecological Role of Blue Catfish in Chesapeake Bay Communities and Implications for Management and Implications for Management. 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. Many anglers like fishing for blue catfish because they are strong, savvy fish that are a good challenge. The information presented has met UME peer review standards, including internal and external technical review. Catching and eating this invasive species may contribute to needed population control. The guidelines are published in FDA’s Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance, Appendix 5 (Fourth Edition-March 2020). Cooking is the best way to control microbial contaminants (bacteria, virus and parasite). Available at: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/inspection/siluriformes What Is Being Done to Mitigate the Invasion? https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-017-0307-1 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. 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). 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. “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.. In my opinion the best tasting catfish is the Blue Catfish which is running wild, literally, in the Chesapeake Bay. Siluriformes. Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) Blue Catfish are long and often slender with a deeply forked tail. Interim Summary of Conclusions and Dietary Recommendations on Total Fat & Fatty Acids. Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish: Invasive, but Delicious and Nutritious! That means that they can swim out of one river, into the more brackish Bay, and then into a different fairly fresh river. Its smooth skin lacks scales. They are tasty and nutritious. Blue catfish are highly productive and create high numbers of offspring each reproductive cycle. University of Maryland Dining Services serves Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish on campus and includes it in menus and promotions. Blue catfish have a flat dorsal fin and a deeply forked tail. Chesapeake Bay Invasive Catfish. Fillet portions (3 oz, 4oz, 8oz), whole-fish, gutted or un-gutted are available upon request from buyers. Their smooth skin lacks scales. 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. 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. Watermen are encouraged to commercially harvest Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish. Why Are They Invasive? 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. 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. 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 are abundant. 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 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. A scientist holds a blue catfish. They have eight sensory barbels or … “An extreme concern for me is the predation on crabs from the blue catfish,” says this Maryland native. Some of its closest relatives include the bullhead catfish, channel catfish, and more.It is the largest species of catfish … Available at: https://www.chesapeakebay.net/documents/workshop_catfish_report_final_pdf.pdf January 11, 2019. 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. Because it will eat most anything and can thrive in both fresh and brackish waters, the catfish quickly began its … Adult Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish are not bottom feeders and thus don’t acquire a muddy taste. 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. Internet Explorer lacks support for the features of this website. World Health Organization (WHO, 2008). All rights reserved. Fisher, R.A. 2020. 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. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/media/80400/download Blue Catfish is an invasive fish species in the Chesapeake Bay but increasing commercial harvest and consumption is one way to reduce their numbers. There are many health benefits of Omega-3 fats in fish. They spawn once a year from late May into June, mostly in lower-salinity streams and smaller tributaries. Blue catfish are native to the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Rio Grande river basins. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDHH and USDA, 2015). Its smooth skin lacks scales. For the general population, consumption of about 8 This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. They are primarily fished using hook and line. Like any kind of food, fish (including Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish), may have potential risks associated with microbial and chemical contaminants. Growing Numbers of Blue Catfish Raised Concerns about Potential Negative Impacts on Native Species in Chesapeake Bay Ecosystems. They croak like pigs. Blue catfish are currently available for sale to the public in many food outlets. 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). 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 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). Anglers will have the best results fishing when water levels are low, and the river is within its banks. The Siluriformes order contains the thousands of different species of catfish on Earth. Food and Drug Administration (FDA, 2020). But in some areas, blue catfish can pose major challenges. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/. Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) is the Largest Species of Catfish in North America The fish can live to 20 years. Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP, 2017). As a wild product, there is some variation in size; normal size being 8 to 14 ounce fillet. Are Commercially Harvested Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish Safe to Eat? Schloesser, R.W., Fabrizio, M. C., Latour, R. J. et al. This fact sheet aims to enhance public awareness of this invasive species as a new commercial fishery resource. While recreational fishermen have targeted blue catfish for decades in the Chesapeake Bay, development of a commercial fishery management plan is relatively new. Blue Catfish leviathans lurking in the river! 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. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA, 2018). Rice can catch up to 1,200 pounds of blue catfish. And they "really, really, really like Chesapeake Bay tributaries," he says. email@example.com, 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. 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. 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