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Catfish and snakehead caught from Conowingo Dam are being donated to Food Banks, Science

Conowingo Dam
Posted at 3:48 PM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 15:48:04-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland and Exelon Corp are partnering with a local seafood company to help rid the Conowingo Dam of invasive fish that end up negatively impacting the Chesapeake Bay watershed, while also feeding the hungry.

The way it works is, Exelon has installed lifts on the west end of the dam that resemble a tank-like 'hopper' that attracts and traps fish. It's then lifted into the air and released into a sorting tank.

That's where biologists, contracted by Exelon, manually sort the fish, separating shad and river herring from invasive species like northern snakeheads, blue catfish and flathead catfish.

Those invasive fish are the refrigerated until they can be transported off site and processed by local seafood wholesaler, JJ McDonnell and Co., who in turn donates large portions of the meat to local food banks and scientific research.

“This initiative serves multiple goals, including controlling invasive fish species by harvesting them to minimize their impacts on the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and providing protein-rich meals to those in need,” DNR Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio said. “We will also improve our collection of scientific data, which will help us better manage these invasives in the future.”