The Michigan Bait Dealers Association (MBDA)
The MDBA was formed in the early 1980s to represent the industry on issues regarding catching, sale, importation, and distribution of minnows, wigglers, and crayfish used as live bait in Michigan's recreational fishery. There are two sources of minnows used for bait, farm raised and wild caught. For the most part, farm raised bait is imported from other states while wild caught comes directly from Michigan waters. Wild caught minnows are limited to species native to the Great Lakes and must be sold to Michigan anglers. The live bait industry is regulated by the Michigan departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development. The industry works with the state to report its harvest and have its facilities certified annually. In the mid-1990s, the MBDA teamed up with Michigan Sea Grant to develop a program that screens for and removes aquatic invasive plants and animals (AIS) from the bait supply. The program known as AIS Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point or HACCP has been a positive development for which Sea Grant and the MBDA hold trainings and review courses for its membership. In the 2000s, the industry was faced with the threat of a fish virus called VHSv. Again the MBDA teamed up with Sea Grant to update HACCP protocols adding biosecurity measures for fish disease to the curriculum. Along with the DNR, the MBDA worked to ensure VHS was not spread in Michigan via commercial bait. The Michigan Bait Dealer's Association has worked hard to develop these programs as well as state regulations. It is a committed partner in preventing the spread of AIS and fish disease. The association's goal is to provide a clean, safe, and desirable live bait product to Michigan anglers while protecting and enhancing the Pure Michigan experience of recreational fishing.
Rick Weidenhamer, President
Michigan Bait Dealer's Association