As a recreational activity, fishing doesn’t seem to have much effect on the environment, especially if you catch and then release the fish involved. It’s definitely no picnic for the worms you’re using as bait, but then again, fish eat bugs all the time. What could be wrong?
It turns out that the industry engaged in farming worms for bait fishing could have more impact on the environment than anyone thought possible. A new article on Atlantic by Peter Andrey Smith, which originally appeared in Hakai magazine, explores the process leading to the packaging and sending of bloodworms as bait – and what the downsides are.
Bloodworms are popular in the fishing world due to their versatility – an article from the fishing site Catch and Fillet described them as “the ultimate fishing bait”. As Smith explains in the article, the problem isn’t really with the bloodworms themselves, it’s with how they’re often packaged. The worms are often packed with an algae called wormweed, which is usually discarded when the worms arrive at their destination.
Unfortunately, algae can carry invasive species with them. The algae can also be an invasive species in its own right, as researchers at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center have learned. And although wrapping bloodworms in, say, shredded newspaper is as effective as deworming, it has been difficult to convince many companies to change their technique.
Balancing environmental calls and environmental regulations is a challenge for all involved, but the consequences are not insignificant – a study has suggested that green crabs transported via seaweed could cost the world over $750 million. fishing industry.
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