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I hear that the catfish are eating all the shad in the river (james). Should I be releasing 60 70 lb catfish that I catch ? As big as these catfish are getting they have to be eating lots of something.
 

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Have you been hearing this from commercial fishermen? Would you prefer to eat a small catfish or a shad? How many 60-70lb catfish are you catching per trip? A catfish this size is over 20 years old why would anyone want to kill something that has lived in the James river for that long. ( Only 1% of catfish in the James river are over 30lbs)
 

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Also PCBs tend to concentrate in these fish. Also Bluecatfish over 32" in the James River system, are on VDH's DO NOT EAT list.

I know legally why commercial fishermen can sell them, they are regulated by the US Department of Commerce, but I don't understand how morally they can do it with a clean conscious.

http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/dee/publichealthtoxicology/Advisories/JamesRiver.htm

The smaller ones people should catch and keep as many as they want, including commercial fishermen.
 

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I kept a 20lb blue cat for eating purposes about 20 years ago....it was tough, gamey, and greasy.....I can't imagine trying to eat one at 60-70 lbs. I recently read results from a 2009 study (VCU/VIMS) that estimates approximately 70% of total fish biomass in the vicinity of Hopewell consists of blue cats....maybe we oughta start just chucking 'em up on the bank or turning them into fertilizer (but the the PCBs would get into your veggies!).
 

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I kept a 20lb blue cat for eating purposes about 20 years ago....it was tough, gamey, and greasy.....I can't imagine trying to eat one at 60-70 lbs. I recently read results from a 2009 study (VCU/VIMS) that estimates approximately 70% of total fish biomass in the vicinity of Hopewell consists of blue cats....maybe we oughta start just chucking 'em up on the bank or turning them into fertilizer (but the the PCBs would get into your veggies!).
I have been eating James river Catfish for a few years and I have experimented with size quite a bit. Anything under 2 lbs has so little meat it is not worth cleaning. The fish taste real good from about 2 to 8 lbs. They start tasting like dirt much over that. they are edible up to 13-15lbs. they become inedible over that. Taste is personal, others may disagree.
 
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