WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) praised the unanimous approval by the Senate this week of their amendment to provide targeted resources to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS), to help the State of Maryland control the population of invasive blue catfish in the Chesapeake Bay. The measure was adopted as an amendment to a package of spending bills for Fiscal Year 2024 that includes Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies; Agriculture and the Food & Drug Administration; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies.
“Invasive catfish have spread in the Chesapeake Bay, inhabiting nearly all major tributaries. They are preying on local species, including the iconic blue crab,” the senators said. “Our amendment will help better control the spread of invasive blue catfish and limit their harmful impacts by providing new resources and facilitating critical partnerships between the federal government and Maryland state agencies. We will continue to seek out federal resources to support this effort.”
The amendment provides funding to support state natural resource agency partners with science as well as design and implement control methods for invasive catfish in the Chesapeake Bay. Example activities include population monitoring to understand seasonal movement and diet patterns and purchasing appropriate electrofishing equipment. Increased monitoring in tributaries that are vulnerable to colonization by invasive blue catfish will allow the state to develop comprehensive mitigation plans in the Chesapeake Bay region.
Cardin is a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Van Hollen is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.