The Department of Marine Resources (DMR) is required by law to manage a list of approved and prohibited baits. 12 M.R.S.A. §6432-A Bait, passed during the 125th Legislature, gives the Department authority to review and prohibit the use of any freshwater or marine organism as lobster and crab bait that poses an unacceptable risk to the marine environment and consumers. This law was enacted to protect Maine from alternate baits that can harbor and potentially introduce diseases and pests and cause harm to aquatic populations and/or the public. Significant effort is required to evaluate the safety of a specific bait, including literature reviews and hazard identification and assessment.
In order to expedite the DMR review process, bait dealers and fishermen are now required to use a DMR-approved outside entity to conduct the data gathering and to prepare a risk assessment report for the department's review. (Costs associated with using an outside entity will be paid for by the applicant.)
DMR-approved contractors capable of evaluating aquatic animal health must be contracted by applicants to conduct literature reviews and produce risk assessments of bait species not currently approved in Maine. Examples of such approved entities include but are not limited to:
- Kennebec River Biosciences, 41 Main St, Richmond, Bill Keleher, email@example.com 207-844-5452 (ph) or Peter Merrill, firstname.lastname@example.org, ME, 207-844-5460 (ph)
- Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences research and services-aquatic health, Ryan B. Carnegie, 1375 Greate Road, Gloucester Point, Virginia, email@example.com, 804-684-7713 (ph)
- Groman Associates, David Groman, New Dominion, PE, Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org (email) 902-566-0864 (ph)
NOTE: If contracted entities recommend pathogen screening of proposed bait sources as part of their assessment, the diagnostic service performing work should be one of the following in order for such work to be considered by the Department:
- Laboratories approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/lab-info-services/sa_approved_labs/ct_approved_labs) or National Animal Health Laboratory Network (https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/nahln/downloads/all_nahln_lab_list.pdf)
- University-based aquatic animal health laboratories,
- Labs staffed with American Fisheries Society Certified Fish Health Inspectors and Pathologists
- Aquatic animal health labs operated by the USFWS or USGS
Below is a form that must be completed to request the use of a third-party contractor for the assessment of a bait source that is currently not approved or is currently prohibited. Once this form has been submitted, you will be notified through email whether you may pursue your chosen contractor for a bait risk assessment.The email will state all required information the risk assessment must contain. NOTE: You must receive a notice from DMR that you are approved to use the contractor of your choice before pursuing a bait risk assessment.