The state for the first time has approved using fish raised off the coast of Uruguay as lobster bait to help offset a bait shortage that could increase lobster prices.
Cook e Aquaculture USA of Machiasport announced the Maine Department of Marine Resources’ decision on Wednesday, saying it could help lobstermen weather a drop in the population of their primary bait source, herring, off the Maine coast. The New England Fishery Management Council in June cut the amount of herring fishermen can catch off the New England coast in 2020 and 2021.
The decision will allow Cooke to sell whole blackbelly rosefish for use as bait to lobstermen dealing with the herring decline. It could also open a lucrative line of trade for Cooke, which employs more than 200 in Maine at its Atlantic salmon marine farms, freshwater hatcheries and processing plant in Machiasport.
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