Maine legislators poised to ban all soft baits
Unwarranted legislation would prohibit “rubber” lures
Thanks to all of those who sent messages and signed the petition regarding the soft baits ban legislation in Maine. Overall there were close to 19,000 messages sent regarding this issue. The Maine Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife passed a resolution that directs the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to study the impacts of soft baits on fishing and the environment and report the results to the legislature in January 2014. This resolution still needs to go to the floor of both the state Senate and state House of Representatives.
There is still some opportunity to change the language of the resolution, and because it will go to both chambers, KeepAmericaFishing will follow the bill through this legislative session and keep you informed of what’s to come! Your participation made a difference. Thanks again.
On January 17, state Representative Paul Davis introduced H.P. 37/L.D.42, legislation that would prohibit the use of all “rubber” lures. The legislation seeks to ban “rubber” baits but does not define the term. Even so, the intent of the legislation is clear – to ban the soft baits that Maine anglers use every day. Technically, there are no “rubber” baits on the market as soft baits are made from various substances, none of which are rubber. The bill would even ban biodegradable soft baits currently available. The legislation does nothing to encourage further understanding of this perceived problem or to improve angler education on the use of soft baits.
On Tuesday, February 5th Maine's Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife held a public hearing on this bill. At the end of the hearing the committee determined they would advance this legislation, as well as one to mandate biodegradable hooks, to a work session for further discussion and possible modification of the bill. At the end of the work session the bill could be recommended for passage, recommended to not pass, pass with modification or a study committee could be formed to further investigate the need for the bill.
At the hearing three individuals spoke in favor of the bill and the remaining speakers, for almost three hours, spoke against the bill. Notably the individual who requested the bill be introduced said the bill was not drafted to his satisfaction and that his intention was to basically ban any lure that had rubber or plastic on it that wasn’t biodegradable – and this included spinners.
This is an important issue for anglers in Maine and across the Nation. Soft baits are popular bait for anglers as witnessed by sales of them each year.
KeepAmericaFishing™ is not aware of any study in the wild showing detrimental impact on fish populations. In fact we know from years of laboratory tests on soft baits that most fish regurgitate or pass these baits without harm. KeepAmericaFishing™ urges anglers to continue to speak out on this issue urging the members of the Joint Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to carefully study the facts, both biological and socio-economic before and to either reject the bill or create a study committee of anglers, sportfishing industry experts and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife so the issue can be better understood. Should it pass, this bill will have serious consequences and unless anglers, especially Maine anglers, speak up common sense may not prevail.
Maine has a rich history with angling and the sport has significant economic impacts to the state. Anglers in Maine provide a $614,401,455 economic infusion to the state each year supporting 6,723 Maine jobs. This economic engine from recreational fishing in Maine also provides $42.8 million in state and local tax revenue. Forty-four percent of Maine’s angling days are done by non-resident anglers, and this ban would affect not only bait and tackle shops but also all tourism businesses.
Please have your voice heard and send a message below to the members of the Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife asking them to oppose this bill.