April 13, 2024
Annapolis, US 56 F

Coastal Conservation Association and Partners to Lead Invasive Fish Show at Bay Bridge Boat Show

The Bay Bridge Boat Show on April 14-16 at the Bay Bridge Marina on Kent Island, Maryland helps kick off the 2023 fishing and boating season and also puts a spotlight on the ecological and economic harm invasive catfish and snakeheads cause to important Maryland fisheries, particularly such iconic and popular species such as blue crabs, striped bass (rockfish), and shad.

Boat show guests are encouraged to stop by Coastal Conservation Association Maryland’s (CCA Maryland) booth (FP 4 & FP 5) located in the FishTalk Fishing Spot to learn how to catch and cook blue catfish and snakeheads while gaining insights on important issues and opportunities facing recreational fishing in the Chesapeake region. Next door to CCA Maryland’s booth, Fish and Hunt Maryland experts will offer tips and tactics as well as suggest the best places to fish for invasive species. People will also have the opportunity to help CCA Maryland build oyster reef balls as part of the group’s “Living Reef Action Campaign,” the organization’s flagship habitat and education program that, since 2014, has engaged with thousands of students and community members across fifteen counties in Maryland and Virginia.

Blue and flathead catfish were first introduced in Virginia waters more than four decades ago to develop a recreational fishery. Since then, these invasive fish have expanded their range into nearly every Chesapeake Bay tributary. Blue catfish tolerate varying salinities, temperatures, and habitats that have allowed them to expand their range. Voracious predators, feed on native species, including menhaden, striped bass, eel, shad, river herring, and blue crabs. Snakeheads were discovered in a Maryland pond in 2004. In the 20 years since, these apex predators have exploded in scores of Bay tributaries and threaten important freshwater species, including largemouth bass and white and yellow perch that share similar habitats.

On April 20, CCA Maryland kicks off Season Two of its live-streamed, seminar series “Chesapeake Perspective” with a deep dive into invasive fish. Entitled “Opportunities & Impacts of Invasive Fish,” registration is free at ccamd.org/chesapeakeperspective.

The Bay Bridge Boat Show seminars will highlight the serious problems invasive catfish and snakeheads create in Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, and educate and inspire the public to help take action. Also, our “Great Chesapeake Invasives Count,” helps provide fishery managers with additional data they can use to better understand which invasive species are being caught and in what waters. This is an excellent example of how the recreational angling community is eager to support the science-based management of our natural resources in the Chesapeake region.

David Sikorski, CCA Maryland Executive Director

Schedule of fishing-focused events on Saturday, April 15:

  • 12:20-12:30 p.m.: David Sikorski of the Coastal Conservation Association Maryland (CCA Maryland) will start the Invasive Species-themed session with an overview of the efforts underway in Maryland, including CCA’s Great Chesapeake Invasives Count. Presented by Yamaha Rightwaters and CCA Maryland.
  • 12:30-1:30 p.m.: Steven Kambouris and Butch Huber give their advice on how best to chase snakeheads in Maryland, including a brief history and biology on this new gamefish in Maryland.
  • 1:30-3:00 p.m.: Andrew Tsui, founder of the Ike Jime Federation, will demonstrate his approach to preparing blue catfish following traditional Japanese techniques. Then Chef David Murray from Chesapeake Culinary Center will share great blue catfish recipes you can cook at home.
  • 3:00-3:30 p.m.: David Sikorski and other experts return to the stage to lead a discussion on invasive species and engage in an audience Q&A. Presented by Yamaha Rightwaters and CCA Maryland.

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