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Tidal Catfish

Ongoing Activities of:
Chesapeake Bay Program Sustainable Fisheries
Goal Implementation Team

Bob Greenlee - District Biologist

May 3, 2011

Fisheries Goal Implementation Team
n Composed of the state fisheries managers from around the Bay and chaired by the director of the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office

n First meeting of full GIT in June 2010

q EXCOMM meets monthly

q Full GIT meets twice a year 

GIT Meeting Minutes – June 2010

n Focused on facilitating fisheries management that encourages sustainable Chesapeake Bay fish populations, supports viable recreational and commercial fisheries , and promotes natural ecosystem function

n Provides the forum to discuss fishery management issues that cross state and other jurisdictional boundaries

nAlso working to better connect science to management decisions and create a framework/mechanism for implementing ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management

GIT Meeting Minutes – June 2010

n GIT must focus on issues that are ACTIONABLE and can affect change

n One of three action items identified during the June 2010 meeting:

qBlue Catfish is an emerging issue which deserves attention

nThere still remain several scientific gaps related to their habitat use, impacts on bay ecology, and population dynamics

nThe Fisheries GIT could demonstrate coordinated, inter-jurisdictional fisheries management with this species by identifying research needs to inform policy recommendations and management actions

December 2010 GIT Meeting
n GIT heard from a panel of blue catfish scientists who indicated:
qExtremely high, and increasing, abundance in tributaries

q Large adults represent a new apex trophic level in these food webs

q Substantial gaps exist in scientific knowledge related to impacts, and/or potential impacts related to the species

  • Commercial harvest approaching 2 million pounds annually


Market saturated with no impact on the population



Low mortality rates in small, market-sized fish



Increasing density; and population size and age structures


December 2010 GIT Meeting

  n GIT Executive Committee determined “ blue catfish constitute an invasive species that demands further management consideration”

December 2010 GIT Meeting
qGIT “brainstormed” management alternatives
ne.g. eradication

n Did not reach a consensus on any specific near term management action

qBased on science advice from presenters, eradication of this species was deemed not viable

qEstablished a blue catfish workgroup to determine best policy options to be considered at the next full GIT meeting in June 2011

n A step forward in coordinating the development of an agreement/policy between the Bay states on blue catfish

GIT December 2010
Outcomes / Action Items:

n Blue Catfish Workgroup

qGroup will further investigate this species and develop management options for GIT consideration at June 2011 meeting
n Executive Committee:
qDevelop clear tasks/guidance for Blue catfish workgroup

qContact agencies to determine what the FDA/state regulations are for consumption

qEnsure inclusion of all stakeholders in developing policy and develop communication products on the issue

qEstablish awareness and linkages at ASMFC

qContact Mid-Atlantic Panel on Aquatic Invasive Species

GIT EXCOMM March 2011 Meeting
Catfish Workgroup Proposal

NOTE: Members of the Workgroup were not aware of this “Workgroup Proposal”

Discussion with Greg Garman on team’s next steps:

n Kill-on-capture will be difficult to implement/enforce and will not significantly reduce populations

n Full eradication is not physically or monetarily feasible

GIT EXCOMM March 2011 Meeting
Catfish Workgroup Proposal

Discussion with Greg Garman on team’s next steps:

n The team could scope out potential “control” approaches:

qPublic awareness campaign to educate and inform public

q"Control" and "Surveillance" Pilot Project: (should include)

nDevelop a control pilot project for select (MD and VA) tributaries

nCreate baseline GIS model of all potential blue catfish habitats across the bay

nDesign a targeted monitoring/surveillance and rapid response system to control spread

Blue/Flathead “Invasive Catfish Field of Action”
Document Date - April 2011
Vision (the outcome GIT wants to achieve):

n Invasive catfish species (blue and flathead) fully eradicated from Chesapeake Bay



n Chesapeake Bay tributaries free of negative effects caused by invasive catfish


GIT “Invasive Catfish Field of Action”
Mission (to achieve the vision):

n Develop and implement bay wide policies and management strategies to reduce invasive catfish populations, mitigate their spread, and control their negative effects on native species

GIT “Invasive Catfish Field of Action”
Values (what the GIT cares about and/or believes in):

n A productive and balanced bay ecosystem

n Invasive species are detrimental to the bay

n Policy guided/driven by science-based considerations

n A knowledgeable and aware public

n Policy coordination and collaboration among jurisdictions yields best management outcomes

GIT “Invasive Catfish Field of Action”
Objectives (GIT measurable outcomes):

n Establish a functional workgroup to provide scientific, technical and policy advice to the GIT on invasive catfish  

n Initiate a public awareness campaign on the invasive catfish issue

n Produce a scientific evaluation on whether blue/flathead catfish are invasive

n Develop a set of options/approaches for controlling populations and mitigating effects of invasive catfish

n Draft and institute an agreed upon policy/action plan based on preferred approach(es)

n Consider possible performance metrics: decreased invasive catfish populations and increased shad, herring, other affected species abundance

GIT “Invasive Catfish Field of Action”

n Use the currently available scientific information on blue and flathead catfish to determine if they are “invasive” by definition.

qTeam:   Mary Fabrizio-lead, Greg Garman, Bob Greenlee, Mary Groves

GIT “Invasive Catfish Field of Action”

n Develop a Matrix of Management Options & Implications

qTeam:   Greg Garman-lead, Bruce Vogt, Derek Orner, Joe Grist, Adam Davis, and Nancy Butowski

GIT “Invasive Catfish Field of Action”

n Develop a proposal for a Pilot Control and Surveillance Program

qTeam:   Greg Garman-lead, Derek Orner, Nancy Butowski, Joe Grist, Adam Davis

GIT “Invasive Catfish Field of Action”

n Establish a Public Awareness Campaign including outreach and education materials and stakeholder engagement plan

qTeam:   Bryan King-lead, Adam Davis, Derek Orner, Bruce Vogt

GIT “Invasive Catfish Field of Action”

n Draft an ASFMC resolution

qTeam:   Bob Beal-lead, Derek Orner, GIT ExComm
n Drafts of all activities are to be prepared by May 16 th

n Finalized by June 1 st

Draft ASFMC Resolution

nInvasive species are negatively impacting native species managed by ASMFC through predation and displacement


nBlue and flathead catfish are non-native invasive species


nSpread and over-abundance of non-native catfish are causing trophic cascades throughout their range, resulting in severely unbalanced ecosystems;


nPredatory impacts of blue catfish are likely having a negative impact on species managed by ASMFC, including shad, river herring, striped bass, American eel, etc.  

Draft ASFMC Resolution

n Whereas, the jurisdictions in the Chesapeake Bay region are developing a policy to control the population, geographic spread, and ecological impacts of invasive catfish.

Draft ASFMC Resolution

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved,


n That all practicable efforts should be made to reduce the population level and range of non-native invasive species;


n That the ASMFC supports the development and implementation of a strategy to minimize the population and ecological impacts of non-native invasive catfish species throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed

You Are Stakeholders in the Process
n Recreational Fishery is an Economic Engine
qJames River Blue Catfish Fishery produced ~ $2.5 million for the local economy during   March – November 2002

qThe typical catfish angler spends $84 per trip

qMany James River anglers are not “typical”

n Quality of Life Impacts  

Fisheries Goal Implementation Team

Fisheries Goal Implementation Team
Next meeting of the full GIT meeting will be June 7 th   – 8 th  
Stratford Hall

GIT Contacts

Peyton Robertson - National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, 410 Severn Ave, Annapolis, MD 21403
Fax: (410) 267-5666; Phone: (410) 267-5652

B ruce Vogt - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
410 Severn Ave Ste 107, Annapolis, MD 21403
Phone: (410) 267-5655


ASMFC Representative:
Bob Beal - Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

n The Fisheries Goal Team’s function is not a regulatory body and is not intended to usurp or impinge on any existing federal or state authority. Instead, it will work closely with existing fisheries management bodies to support inter-jurisdictional fisheries management in the Bay

n The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) coordinates management of fisheries for species that migrate into and through Atlantic Coastal state waters, out to 3-miles offshore, under the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act

n States have individual jurisdiction over fish stocks that reside solely in their state waters, including Chesapeake Bay

n information provided in this presentation was pulled verbatim from the Chesapeake Bay Program web site
qIncluding meeting minutes from the Fisheries Goal Implementation Team

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