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Way Downstream … (May 16-22, 2019)

Weapon for the blue cat invasion: Your skillet

        It’s been a stealthy arrival, but they’re here, those voracious blue catfish. Like snakeheads, the Chinese invaders menacing the Chesapeake Bay watershed, blue catfish have climbed to alarming proportions.

         The threat they pose by outcompeting other species is another story, but herein we describe one effort — by University of Maryland Extension — to cope.

         Now that state institutions can legally purchase blue catfish, UMD Extension is pushing ahead with consumer education programs and events to publicize the rewards of eating our invaders.

         “Blue catfish is not only delicious but also safe and nutritious,” the Extension’s Cathy Liu asserts in an email message in our inbox. 

         University of Maryland students might not have realized that in the fall semester, they consumed more than two tons of blue catfish.

         The success of these taxpayer-funded programs depends on the taste of what lands on people’s plates. It’s all too easy to overcook any fish into a rubbery mass and present it in unimaginative ways.

         To fight that problem, Extension offers recipes like Baltimore chef Chad Wells’ blue catfish tacos: