Legislation would limit lobster bait alternatives


AUGUSTA — It may soon be against the law in Maine to bait lobster traps with almost anything that’s not part of a lobster’s natural diet.

The Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee unanimously endorsed the bill. It is expected to be approved by the House and Senate.

Col. Joseph Fessenden of the Maine Marine Patrol told the Kennebec Journal a herring shortage has intensified the search for new baits. One alternative is freshwater Asian carp, but that carries disease officials do not want in Maine waters.

The law would bar freshwater species from being used as bait unless proven safe and approved by the Department of Marine Fisheries.

Maine already has laws against baiting traps with most land animal parts.

Maine’s lobster industry uses about 100,000 metric tons of bait per year.