Industry Response to Aquatic Invasive Species: HACCP
HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point and is a protocol used by Michigan's bait industry to help ensure the bait they supply is as free as possible of both sport fish and aquatic invasive species. The Michigan Bait Dealers Association has hosted two trainings on HACCP over the years for their membership and all of the prominent catchers and wholesalers have taken it. The HACCP training and curriculum is administered by Michigan Sea Grant which is a cooperative program of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. It is part of a national network of more than 30 university-based Sea Grant programs in coastal states across the country and is administered through the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. HACCP is not fool proof, but if properly applied, it is the best approach available to keep unwanted fish and plants out of the bait supply.
Recreational anglers can help in HACCP efforts to make sure Michigan's bait supply is as clean as possible. Anglers are asked to take a moment to inspect their bait that they catch themselves or purchase. Upon inspection if an angler sees any fish that looks odd or different than the majority of the minnows in their bait buckets, they should simply throw the odd looking fish away. Additionally, anglers are reminded to never release unused live bait into the waters of Michigan, it is against the law. Instead they should dispose of any unused live bait in the trash or woods away from the water's edge.