This suggests the blue cats could be having a negative impact on the bay ecosystem. You can find them living in a colony in coastal area. Scientists from Virginia Tech try to net the large numbers of James River Blue Catfish surfacing during an electrofishing survey in 2015. Credit: Jason Emmel. Facts about Blue Catfish 3: the life span. The study only checked the stomach contents of one predator, while neglecting other species in the ecosystem. “Linking the environmental message with hunger relief has allowed us to connect with sustainable efforts on multiple levels.”. An average catfish is usually between 25-40 inches and measures 20-40 pounds. Blue Catfish on the Move . ... disrupting the ecosystem as a non-native species. A Thai chili catfish dish sold out in its first run. He noted that there are many stakeholders with different opinions on how to move forward, and there needs to be conflict resolution in order to find a strategy that works for all parties. “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. Washington, DC 20006. GW Campus Dining, sold 60 pounds of wild blue catfish in one week in April, for the initial test-run of the Wide Net Project partnership, which sources the overpopulated fish from the Chesapeake Bay . Additionally, large blue catfish have been found to have elevated levels of heavy metals, including mercury, posing a potential human health risk. “First, we want to address healthy food access for underserved communities and, second, conservation in the Chesapeake Bay related to the overpopulation of the wild blue catfish.”. Blue catfish has a very long lifespan. A blue catfish with a recent blue crab snack. However, it usually weighs 20 to 40 lbs. (9-18 kg). “This partnership furthers our efforts to bring local, sustainable food to the campus community.”. While research on the effects of blue catfish has been underway, the Bay lacks a clear strategy for how to handle all the fish: “We have increased our knowledge in the past 20 years substantially,” said Orth, “the problem is, we have not worked to get agreed-upon management objectives.”. Wide Net Project cofounders Wendy Stuart and Sharon Feuer Gruber said that the goal of the program is to not only ease the predatory effects of the species but to also provide healthy food to underserved communities. For example, in the Potomac River, blue catfish are bycatch in gillnet fisheries, and due to their high abundance, may severely reduce gear efficiency for target species Catfishes are related to the characins, carp, and minnows (order Cypriniformes) and may be placed with them in the superorder Ostariophysi. The fish can live to 20 years. Blue catfish can reach maximum length of 5.4 feet (165 cm) and weigh 150 lbs. However, only the Rio Grande population has dark spots on the back and sides. “The Wide Net Program, as a local, sustainable initiative, is another way to move the needle on our efforts in a positive direction.”. Description: Blue catfish have a forked tail and are very similar to channel catfish in looks. ’09, who invited four students to participate as panelists at the AAA Stakeholders Summit . The species was introduced in the James, Rappahannock and York rivers in Virginia for recreational fishing in the 1970s. They have a prominent jaw, with sharp, compressed teeth. GW students—GroW Garden Manager Jesse Schafer, Student Dining Board member Eric Estroff, Jennifer Weinberg, who grew up on a cattle farm, and Student Eco Rep Miles Milliken—discussed how they perceive, assess and interact with food with milk, meat and egg producers who were eager to continue discussions throughout the day. Orth is hopeful that the group will identify research goals for him and other scientists. Bluefish are blue-green on the back and silvery on the sides and belly. Carrie was so proud of her mom, saying she had no idea she knew how to rap! “We are looking forward to seeing what GW does next.”, COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING Spring is hands down the best time of the year for catching huge numbers of blue catfish across the United States and my absolute favorite time for some fast and furious blue cat action.As the weather begins to warm and seasons transition from winter to spring, blue catfish are on the prowl and they have aferocious appetite.. Anglers who have a good understanding of what the … Blue catfish are a lot like teenage boys. Biology. A slate-blue-bodied, silver-bellied native of the Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi basins, the wild blue catfish can live for more than 20 years and grow to more than 100 pounds. The George Washington University Campus Dining has joined the fight to conserve the Chesapeake Bay by serving wild blue catfish, an overpopulated species whose large appetite has the potential to devastate the ecosystem of the Maryland watershed.. In a provision of the 2008 Farm Bill, USDA inspectors have to be on site when handling catfish, creating a significant barrier for small processing facilities. With so many available in the Bay, one solution could be that people should simply eat more catfish. Managers must figure out how to restore American shad now that catfish are here to stay. They have large heads with down-turned mouths for feeding on the bottom. They are able to reproduce at age 2, when they’re 15 to 20 inches in length. They're disrupting the ecosystem. 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue NW 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. “As more organizations sign on and our volume increases, we can subsidize the fish and offer lower prices and higher volumes,” Ms. Stuart said. “We wanted to know how, why and where they get information about the food they eat. “Wide Net Project’s mission is to address two problems simultaneously that are often not linked together,” Ms. Gruber said. These included channel catfish, another exotic species introduced from the Great Lakes to Maryland rivers as a sportfish in 1889. Some channel cats and white catfish have similar coloring to blues, but the sure fire way to tell the difference is that blue catfish have an anal fin that has a straight edge while channels and white catfish have a curved edge to their anal fin. The blue catfish is a long fish with a flat dorsal fin and deeply forked tail. They are turning up in high numbers in the James, Potomac, and small tributaries all over the watershed, including formerly high-salinity areas that are now awash with rainwater. These invasive catfish can live for 30 years and grow up to 100 pounds. Harvesting the fish provides income to fishers and reduces the population and predation of the wild blue catfish, thereby, restoring populations of Maryland blue crab and other species, she said. Facts about Blue Catfish 4: the invasive pests. “Together, Wide Net, Sodexo and GW have launched this pilot program with the hope that by successfully engaging the university community, we can grow in the region,” Ms. Stuart said. “We thought what better way to understand what millenials are thinking about the food they eat than to bring them into a dialogue with stakeholders and Rob Morasco, the senior director of offer development at Sodexo,” Ms. Meredith said. Blue catfish, like our other catfish, have smooth, scaleless skin and barbels (“whiskers”) around the mouth. In 2019, the team modeled their blue catfish data and determined that catfish should be closely monitored in meso-haline zones, like the lower James, where they are likely to eat blue crabs. Humpback blue catfish were often filled with baby catfish 2, when they ’ re 15 20... Catfish were often filled with baby catfish for catfish recently signed the Real food Challenge, ” added.! 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