A U.S. government agency is changing the rules regarding importing nightcrawlers into the United States. The rules announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health …
A U.S. government agency is changing the rules regarding importing nightcrawlers into the United States. The rules announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, will require importers of any earthworm species to obtain a permit and to comply with new rearing and shipping requirements.
The changes were initially set to go into effect July 1, but two Midwestern wholesale live bait purveyors were told that the rules may be pushed back to October. That would give the industry time to prepare for the changes, which appear to be prompted by concerns over foot and mouth disease.
The delay was good news for bait wholesalers such as Jason Johnson, who owns and operates Johnson’s Wholesale Bait in Motley, Minnesota. He said, “I don’t know who ran across it, but it’s spread like wildfire in the industry, but the Canadian worm dealers didn’t know anything about it. It takes so many days to get approved for a permit, we could have been looking at the rest of the summer without nightcrawlers.”
There remain some concerns about the new rules, which require worms to be quarantine and out of soil for 15 days before they can be shipped, may be too onerous for Canadian nightcrawler suppliers.
Currently, crawlers from the time they get to a U.S. wholesaler, can spend a month at a wholesaler and two weeks at a bait shop before ending up in the hands of anglers. That isn’t an issue when they are in dirt, which nightcrawlers consume for the nutrients.
The new rules apply to importing earthworms into the United States from all countries.
Anglers going to Canada should know bait rules, it’s not information easily found anywhere on the Canadian government’s website, but United States anglers taking fishing trips into the country may no longer bring nightcrawlers or frozen minnows.
Baits includes frozen, live, any kind of minnow and any type of worms. It is common for United States based anglers to bring their own nightcrawlers in artificial bedding to save money instead of buying live bait in Canada.
Anglers traveling to Canada will want to do some research and make some calls ahead of time to make sure they can arrange to get live bait.
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