PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine lawmakers are considering new controls for a major baitfishing industry in the state.
Maine’s menhaden catch has swelled in recent years. This is partly because they are used as bait for lobster traps. Herring, another popular baitfish, has not been as available recently due to tighter fishing quotas.
The Maine Department of Marine Resources has asked the Maine Legislature to pass a bill that would allow fishers to obtain a menhaden business license only if they have held it during one of the last six years and have caught at least 25,000 pounds of fish in just one of those years. The Marine Resources Legislative Committee passed an amended version of the proposal on Tuesday.
The committee included an amendment to give anglers an extra year to catch the 25,000 pound limit, the Bangor Daily News reported. State fishing regulators want to limit licenses because they believe too many fishermen are harvesting menhaden, which has raised the possibility of overfishing.
Maine fishermen make up a small portion of the menhaden fishing industry along the entire coast. Fish are fished on a large scale as they are used for products such as animal feed, fertilizers and dietary supplements.