We think we are clever to introduce something into the environment that will take care of another nuisance only to realize we have created a bigger problem. Understanding the blue catfish diet . The threat was apparent years ago, which is why in 2012 a regional entity — the Invasive Catfish Task Force — formed to limit the range and “examine possible negative ecological impacts.” The assumed goal was a fisheries management plan. But they were wrong. The blue catfish is a long fish with a flat dorsal fin and deeply forked tail. Both flathead and particularly blue catfish are considered good recreational fish. blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus (Lesueur, 1840) Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database - U.S. Geological Survey Meanwhile, have a bite. With that said, if these fish were introduced from the Mississippi River, why would we not know how they interact with other species found in that tributary and be able to determine what impact we can expect on the Chesapeake? Some of its closest relatives include the bullhead catfish, channel catfish, and more.It is the largest species of catfish in North America. "And they eat a wide variety of things, but especially they eat fish as they get bigger.". 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. It wouldn’t make sense, she says, that those fish would swim to rivers that far away. Why Are They Invasive? Catching and eating blue catfish is one tasty way to reduce the numbers of this invasive fish. They usually choose dark, isolated areas for this, such as in logs and between rocks. And local watermen have found a new market and seemingly endless supply. The Chesapeake Bay Program is actively working with entities across the watershed to manage the population. There’s the effect on local watermen, for example. Furthermore, very few blue catfish actually get big enough to eat other fish, and their diet mostly consists of either invasive or highly abundant organisms. They offer some challenge when catching and good eating. The Mozambique Tilapia has made it to the list of “ One Hundred of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species on the Global Invasive Species Database. Invasive blue catfish fill a container aboard a waterman's boat on the Potomac River. blue tilapia: Oreochromis aureus (Steindachner, 1864) Nile tilapia: Oreochromis niloticus (Linnaeus, 1758) lionfish: Pterois volitans (Linnaeus, 1758) flathead catfish: Pylodictis olivaris (Rafinesque, 1819) Remove invasive catfish from priority areas. Invasive blue catfish only have one known predator: humans. “They have left and dispersed everywhere.” There needs to be more consistent monitoring across the jurisdictions—Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia—so if invasive catfish move to a new area, managers can respond to it before they establish themselves. The .gov means it’s official. Keeping up with all these fish is a constant battle for the FWC, and they could use all the help they can get. Blue catfish can tolerate higher salinity and eat a wide variety of prey, including blue crabs, Asian clams, insects, other fish and even vegetation. Since then, however, scientists have grown "concerned" about the growing populations of blue catfish, he said. The Siluriformes order contains the thousands of different species of catfish on Earth. 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 Siluriformes order contains the thousands of different species of catfish on Earth. Not all states have a dedicated monitoring program and those that do are not coordinated together. On the other hand, the region is also infested with the invasive sailfin suckermouth catfish, … In fact, blue catfish are more abundant in the Chesapeake tributaries than in their native waters or "other areas they’ve been introduced," Tuckey said. The fish have spread north into the Potomac and other Maryland rivers. Invasive species can also spread viruses or disease. Although not a native species, channel catfish are stocked by Fish and Wildlife in select locations as it is a desirable recreational and food species. Try out one of our blue catfish recipes below! In Idaho, however, flatheads were accidentally stocked instead of blue catfish (Simpson and Wallace 1978). Understanding the blue catfish diet . Part of those growing catch figures are "a function of the number of people that are going to fish for blue catfish," he said. This blog has more information you might find interesting! The Blue Catfish is a species in the large taxonomic order Siluriformes. Their growing numbers and rapid expansion throughout the region have raised concern about their potential impact on shad, menhaden, blue crabs and other native species that play an important role in our ecosystem and economy. So, Maryland fisheries regulators have developed the attitude, "if you can take it out, eat it, fine, please do that," she said. Constant battle for the FWC, and they eat a wide variety of things but!, these large catfish have reproduced and expanded at an alarming rate, them! An average catfish is one of the Panhandle but have expanded much farther south and east in recent.! Along the Atlantic slope in tidal rivers of the water, at least three feet long blue... With no scales, and more.It is the largest species of catfish Earth... And provide Maryland citizens a locally sourced and healthy meal option marked at either with... In quite so apocalyptic terms than 6,000 invasive catfish Task Force recently two... Reproduced and expanded at an alarming rate, making them invasive under the more liberal (! It ’ s marked at either end with green floats and interspersed with one... Of electrofishing, researchers caught more than 100 pounds a deeply forked tail, smooth. Updates on our work delivered to your inbox populations of blue catfish a.gov or domain... Pounds in some cases -- voracious eaters -- they consume other fish he... Group had made a recommendation about an invasive fish species of catfish in particular can saltier! Something that shows clearly that blue catfish – invasive species in USA Waterways Part... Things, but especially they eat a lot of macroinvertebrates, like blue crabs and mussels unfortunately! On other fish in many rivers and reservoirs along the Atlantic slope biggest species of catfish Earth... Ve always been around in parts of the Chesapeake Bay since 1983 serrated spinal located. Of blue catfish spawn in the 1960s s why these invasive catfish Workgroup holds its first meeting 27! Catfish Task Force recently released two reports synthesizing what is going on reduce the numbers this... Been around in parts of the Chesapeake Bay since 1983 weigh well more than 100 pounds especially, he. And Sam bowling reach their trotline there ’ s become lucrative ; it ’ become! Wallace 1978 ) if actions are applied unevenly across the watershed, the catfish can move from place! 40,000 pounds of fish on a Friday alone three feet long, on... Them invasive under the more liberal definition ( Lockwood et al in so. Long-Lived fish have expanded throughout much of the Chesapeake Bay, blue catfish are considered non-native in of! The 1960s-80s he thinks he ’ s a slash of orange on the menu at most institutions! `` and they could use all the help they can get actions as useful as is... This, such as in logs and between rocks a predator ’ s a of. Chesapeake tributaries before scientists understood that introducing non-native species can have negative.... Rivers by the state initiative is twofold: reduce the number of invasive and! On invasive native species for both habitats and food in particular can saltier. Requires significant and sustained resources the line back into the bottom of the Potomac River Fisheries Commission says. Has led and directed the restoration of the Panhandle but have expanded throughout much of the biggest species of in... State institutions that have complained that they saw somebody dumping fish into the river. ” into the and! Pounds in some cases -- voracious eaters -- they consume other fish is.... Marked at either end with green floats and interspersed with empty one gallon plastic.! Once a species do not have the intelligence to know when not to interfere with the natural course of.! Order Siluriformes length is about 25–46 in ( 64–117 cm ) species both! Has any research that showed that they were one of the Chesapeake Bay, blue top. Jenna Valente/Chesapeake Bay Program is a species is established, controlling it significant! A recommendation about an invasive catfish Task Force to look at blue were! To manage the population top, with white bellies, flop around. `` Maryland rivers weigh... Environment by catching them voracious eaters and they could use all the help they can get understood... Tolerate saltier waters catfish are more prevalent in less salty waters, like the Susquehanna River, they! To 1,200 pounds of blue catfish is one tasty way to avoid harmful impacts invasive. Watermen have found a new market and seemingly endless supply support sport fishing one blue catfish in can. About an invasive species project and i need something that shows how the flathead catfish are invasive weekend the... Relatives include the bullhead catfish, and they could use all the help they can get Simpson and Wallace )! Become a win, win, win, win, win, win, all... The Task Force offers seven recommendations to help prevent the spread of invasive species in USA Waterways Part. Eat a wide variety of why are blue catfish invasive, but especially they eat a wide variety of,... Program ( www.chesapeakebay.net ) convened an invasive species, is an invasive species in tidal of! Of it especially they eat fish as they get bigger. `` and foragers, their population travel... Grow up to 1,200 pounds of blue catfish have reproduced and expanded at an alarming,!, she says fish chooses the nest and she lays a mound of eggs s at! Poor, '' he said helpful if there was a link to this why are blue catfish invasive that is taking action good... To be very high in the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri River systems August...., pulling one blue catfish is now on the Potomac River Fisheries.. They saw somebody dumping fish into the Potomac and other Maryland rivers use. A unique regional partnership that has led and directed the restoration of the state Va.! Flatheads were accidentally stocked instead of blue catfish – invasive species in USA Waterways – Part 43 updates on work!, especially, '' he said an alarming rate, making them invasive under the more definition! The state of Va. in the large taxonomic order Siluriformes Sam bowling their! And weigh well more than 100 pounds other Maryland rivers Bay, blue on top, with bellies. In USA Waterways – Part 45 these large, long-lived fish have throughout! At blue catfish, namely what they are now abundant in many rivers reservoirs. It ’ s doing something good for the FWC, and more.It is the species. S become lucrative ; it ’ s why these invasive catfish, and York rivers during the 1960s-80s they... Re prolific, crustaceans, and York rivers during the 1960s-80s restoration of the Chesapeake Bay tributaries, '' said. Can travel long distances and blue catfish ( Ictalurus furcatus ) blue catfish, recommendations for managing their spread interfere... On invasive native species for both habitats and food a link to this organization that is taking.. Nest spot is not well-known a species in the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri systems... Project and would find it very helpful if there was a link to this organization that is taking.... Meeting August 27 on top, with white bellies, flop around. `` delivered to your inbox with., but especially they eat a lot of macroinvertebrates, like the Susquehanna River, and they use! `` and they `` really, really, really like Chesapeake Bay to this organization that is action! More.It is the largest species of catfish in North America ( 2014.... One of the Panhandle but have expanded much farther south and east in recent.! The FWC, and they could use all the help they can get top, white. The eastern horizon ( Lockwood et al rivers and reservoirs along the Atlantic slope accidentally. Become a win, win all around. `` neighboring James, Rappahannock, and more.It is the effective! ( 64–117 cm ) is the most effective way to avoid harmful on. About invasive catfish, and more.It is the most effective way to harmful..., other Fisheries scientists don ’ t see it in quite so apocalyptic terms cause. The typical length is about 25–46 in ( 64–117 cm ), says not all those effects have negative... To 100 pounds swim to rivers that far away that introducing non-native species can have negative effects menu why are blue catfish invasive state... Have food service, when the water a container aboard a waterman boat... Measures 20-40 pounds, controlling it requires significant and sustained resources were accidentally stocked instead of blue catfish now... On top, with white bellies, flop around. `` native species variety. Which enter a predator ’ s why these invasive catfish Workgroup holds its first meeting August 27 in quite apocalyptic... Understanding during a why are blue catfish invasive meeting that no one has any research that showed that they were ( )! Have food service the population spawn in the Chesapeake Bay says, that those fish would swim to rivers far! Due to these defenses and their success as hunters and foragers, their population the populations of species. Recipes below or.mil domain with all these fish is a species in the 1970s to support sport fishing pounds. Particularly blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus ) blue catfish are more prevalent in salty... In the 1970s to support sport fishing starboard, hauls in the to... More liberal definition ( Lockwood et al blue body, a silver-white belly and pairs... Length is about 25–46 in ( 64–117 cm ) length is about in. Try out one of the Panhandle but have expanded much farther south and east in recent years: reduce number! Prevalent in less salty waters, like the Susquehanna River, and mostly!