Catfish, Blue – Chesapeake Bay
Blue Catfish is a large freshwater fish species, which can weigh more than 100 lbs and live to over 20 years. Blue Catfish are native to large U.S. rivers, such as the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio, but have been introduced into other areas, including several rivers in the Chesapeake Bay region.
Although no formal population assessment for Blue Catfish has been conducted in the Chesapeake Bay region, there is evidence that the abundance of Blue Catfish is high, and in many areas increasing. Managers are now concerned that Blue Catfish are having a negative impact on native species in the Chesapeake Bay, and are therefore now focusing on ways to reduce the population.
Blue Catfish support both recreational and commercial fisheries in the Chesapeake Bay region. In the commercial fisheries they are captured with fish pots, bottom gillnets, fyke nets, pound nets and haul seines, which can cause some damage to bottom habitats. The level of bycatch in these fisheries is unknown.