Maine legislators poised to ban all soft baits
Unwarranted legislation would prohibit “rubber” lures
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.
KeepAmericaFishing™ is not aware of any study of fish in the wild regarding problems with soft baits. To the contrary industry research involving literally thousands of soft baits to test fish of many species (particularly bass and trout) has indicated minimal problems for the fish involved. The research experience is that the fish either regurgitate or pass the baits without problem. These studies fed baits appropriate for the size of the fish being tested. There is a wide variety of types, sizes and shapes of soft baits and few cause problems, even in laboratory experiments.
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.
On Tuesday, February 5th Maine’s Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will hold a public hearing on this bill.