PORTLAND, Maine - Interstate fishing regulators are looking to get out in front of potential problems caused by exotic bait in case there is a bait crunch in the lobster fishery next year.
East Coast lobster fishermen rely heavily on herring as bait for their traps. But the fishing quota for herring has been dramatically cut recently because of concerns about the stability of the fish's population.
An arm of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is concerned that exotic bait introduced to fill the herring gap could bring problems like disease and parasites. The board agreed to develop a bait safety resolution on Monday.
Tech advocates say biotechnology could be used to reduce reliance on bait fish. A commission spokeswoman says biotech baits will likely be considered when safety rules are drafted.