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SU Hosts Annual Nanticoke River Invasive Fishing Derby July 20

SU Hosts Annual Nanticoke River Invasive Fishing Derby July 20

By SU Public Relations

SALISBURY, MD---Dr. Noah Bressman, Salisbury University assistant professor of biological studies, is combating invasive species in local waterways, and Eastern Shore anglers can help.

Fishing hobbyists and professionals alike are invited to the third Nanticoke River Invasive Fishing Derby, presented by SU Saturday, July 20 (rain date: Saturday, July 27) at Cherry Beach Park in Sharptown, MD. Lines in at 5 a.m. and weigh-in begins at 1:30 p.m., followed by awards, data collection, invasive species educational lessons and more.

Thanks to support from SU’s Graduate Studies and Research Office, the free derby features some $2,000 in prizes. A portion of all blue catfish and northern snakeheads caught will be provided to Bressman’s lab to continue research to learn more about their effects on the local ecosystem, with a focus on diet, growth speed and reproduction rates. Anglers may take home the remainder of their catches if desired. 

“We really want to spread awareness in local waterway communities about what fish are invasive, and how they can minimize the population to relieve some pressure from striped bass and blue crabs, whose populations are on the decline,” said Bressman. “The event is family friendly for anglers of any age.”

Derby fishing is permitted at Cherry Beach Park for shore-based anglers. Those fishing from kayaks or boats may use any boat launch along the Nanticoke and tributaries such as Marshyhope Creek and Barren Creek. Maryland or Delaware tidal fishing licenses are required for most participants, respective to their fishing location. A section of Cherry Beach Park is designated as a license-free fishing zone for those without a license. 

The event is hook and line only and does not include a bow fishing category. Limited fishing gear will be available for those who may not have their own supplies. 

Though invasive species like blue catfish and snakeheads have developed a stigma due to the harm they can cause for native species, that does not mean they are unfit for consumption, Bressman said.

“It’s important for anglers to know these species should not be released, and we want to bring awareness to the benefits to the native aquatic species once removed,” he said. “We encourage using these catfish and snakeheads as a food source and will be sharing creative recipes at the event for those who want to try cooking them at home.”  

Prize sponsors include lures and gear from local manufacturers Old Skool Tackle Company and Engel coolers from the Maryland Coastal Conservation Association (MD CCA). Shad and catfish bait will be available for purchase from The Bait Boyz.  

Event volunteers include MD CCA, Salisbury Green Team, Assateague Coastkeeper, FishTalk Magazine and Interfaith Partners of the Chesapeake. 

A participant registration form is available online. For more information visit the Facebook event page
or email Bressman.

Learn more about SU and opportunities to Make Tomorrow Yours at the SU website.