Maryland concerned about invasive blue catfish

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Chesapeake Bay looks beautiful and serene from above, but there's a monster below, and it's taking over.

It's the blue catfish and it's big. The fish is from the Mississippi Delta area and was introduced into our waterways in the 1970's and it's eating everything in sight.

“It's out-competing our native species and it's becoming a huge problem here,” said Steve Vilnit with the Department of Natural Resources.

Experts say the fish is not from here so it has no natural enemies.    

“It's an apex predator so it's top of the food chain and there is nothing else targeting it,” Vilnit said. “So basically is going unchecked.”

So the state came up with a plan. They want anglers to catch as many as they can and they also need the help from local restaurants.

“We started a campaign to eat this malicious but delicious fish called blue catfish,” Vilnit said. “The whole purpose of this is to get the restaurants to eat the last one.”

That's where people like Keith Long come in to play. Long is the chef at Factors Row in Annapolis.

“Serving an invasive species on the menu is doing our part to try and make the region that we're in a better place,” Long said.

Long said he fries the fish in a beer batter and makes a fish taco.

“I think it has an even better flavor than even cod, so it stands up against the other big flavors in the taco,” Long said. “It's not over powering at all. I served it to people who don't like fish and they love the taco.”

And if they reach their goal and Long does serve "the last blue fish,” he wouldn’t mind turning his attention to the snakehead, which has caused problems in the area since being introduced in Crofton in 2002.

Long that that would be “another great one.”

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