State and Federal fisheries managers recently identified blue and flathead catfish of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed as invasive, non-native species, and have begun developing strategies to mitigate their impact.
Blue catfish are native to the Mississippi River Valley and were introduced to the James and Rappahannock Rivers in the 1970s.
Since then, the fish have reproduced and spread throughout the tidal Potomac River system. Flathead catfish and blue catfish have since been identified in the Nanticoke, Susquehanna and Northeast Rivers, Upper Chesapeake Bay and other waters.
The Chesapeake Bay Program’s Sustainable Fisheries Goal Team, which includes representatives from Virginia, Maryland, the Potomac River Fisheries Commission, District of Columbia, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service, and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, recently adopted a Chesapeake Bay blue and flathead catfish policy to reduce these catfish populations and to stem their spread.
In August, 2011, The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission approved a resolution expressing concern about the impacts of blue and flathead catfish to Atlantic coast migratory fish species.
source: MD DNR
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