Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has said that it sees no reason for the state to enact proposed legislation to ban anglers from using soft plastic baits.
The report comes a year after Maine first introduced the bill, which was intended for environmental protection. The ban drew a huge backlash from Maine anglers and businesses that rely on the state’s fishing industry.
The public outcry prompted Maine’s legislature to ask the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to conduct a study on whether or not the bill was necessary. On January 28, they presented their findings to the state legislature.
“Requiring the sale and use of only biodegradable soft plastic baits is not currently a solution,” said the IFW said in a statement, according to Bassmaster.com. “Based on the information in this report, the Department does not recommend legislation at this time.”
Soft plastic baits are common items in most tackle boxes. They are inexpensive, effective and they eliminate the need to carry live bait. Bass Resource reported that several anglers who visit Maine from out of state use soft plastic lures.
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“Forty four percent of Maine’s angling days are from non-resident anglers,” said American Sportfishing Association Vice President Gordon Roberston. “Unfounded restrictions on fishing equipment such as soft baits would cause a negative impact on tourism expenditures in Maine.”
In lieu of banning soft plastic baits, the IFW recommended that the state continue to enforce anti-littering laws and increase public awareness about the effects of littering soft plastic baits in freshwater environments.