Save the Bay News: Blue Catfish, Oyster Gardening, and a Trout's Journey

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A researcher holds two female crabs, identifiable by their U-shaped apron, caught during the winter dredge survey.

Kenny Fletcher/CBF Staff

This month, we explore the Bay's remarkable fisheries—from surveying blue crabs to controlling blue catfish to examining a trout hatchery. Read these stories and more.

In a letter this month asking the federal government to declare a fisheries disaster in the Chesapeake Bay due to a proliferation of invasive species, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore cited a truly startling statistic: In tributaries where invasive blue catfish have established, they represent up to 75 percent of the total fish weight. It is just one sign of how pollution, climate change, invasive species, and fishing pressure continue to reshape the watershed’s famed seafood industry. In Virginia, CBF supported legislation this session that would boost blue catfish processing and market capacity in the state to help address the problem. Other measures would continue long-running research on the blue crab population, which blue catfish likely impact. In addition to removing pressure from invasive species, clean water remains essential for many important fisheries, including the millions of hatchery-raised trout making their way to Pennsylvania streams this month. To add more filtering power and fish habitat to the Bay, Maryland is considering bills that support oyster farming. And across the watershed, volunteer oyster gardeners are preparing to help restore these critical bivalves (you can, too).  For other headlines, check out our inaugural “In the News” section below.

A member of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries holds aloft a large blue catfish caught during an electrofishing demonstration in the tidal James River.

Kenny Fletcher/CBF Staff

A Market for Blue Cats

Virginia’s legislative session wrapped up last month with some big wins for the Bay’s fisheries. One bill in particular would boost the state’s ability to process and market blue catfish, an invasive fish with a voracious appetite for Bay critters. Other measures will help recycle oyster shells from restaurants and support studies of blue crabs and menhaden.

An orange-gloved hand holds a blue crab just pulled from a dredge net.

Kenny Fletcher/CBF Staff

Blue Crab Mysteries

Researchers are wrapping up field work for the winter dredge survey, the annual assessment of the Bay’s blue crab population. This year’s results won’t be released for another couple months. In the meantime, we look at some of the mysteries scientists are still trying to unravel about the future of this notoriously fickle fishery.

Screen capture from the beginning of a video showing an oyster cage being pulled from the water with the CBF logo and headline All About Oyster Gardening.

Kenny Fletcher/CBF Staff

Cultivate Your Own Oyster Garden

Dozens of volunteer oyster gardeners around the watershed are preparing to help plant the seeds for a healthier Bay. The gardeners raise baby oysters at private and public docks for a year before the oysters are placed on sanctuary reefs. This video illustrates how to get involved, whether you live on the water or not.

Snow falls as several men gather around a large white tanker truck parked on the side of a road next to a stream.

A Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission trout-stocking truck parks along Yellow Breeches Creek in preparation of releasing its payload of trout.

BJ Small/CBF Staff

A Trout’s Journey

April 1 is opening day of trout season in Pennsylvania. Before these colorful fish find their way to streams and anglers, many of them—3.2 million in fact—start their journey in a network of hatcheries. These facilities rely on high quality water, but they also play an important role in keeping streams clean.

Nineteen people stand on the steps of the Maryland State House.

Oyster aquaculture advocates gather on the Maryland State House steps during their day of advocacy on March 2 for bills to help reduce regulatory delays for new aquaculture businesses and support the environmental benefits of the industry.

A.J. Metcalf/CBF Staff

Helping Oyster Farms

Oyster advocates traveled to the Maryland capital this month to address an issue that has long plagued the state’s growing aquaculture industry: The arduous process business owners must navigate to get approved for leases to raise oysters. Legislative efforts could make it easier to get more oysters—and their filtering abilities—into the Bay.

In the News

What You Can Do

Issues in this Post

Fisheries   Blue Crabs   Eastern Oysters  


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