As a recreational activity, fishing does not seem to have much of an effect on the environment, especially if you catch and then release the affected fish. It’s definitely not a picnic for the worms that you use as bait, but then again, fish eat bugs all the time. What could be the harm?

Ultimately, the industry engaged in breeding worms for fishing bait could have more of an impact on the environment than anyone thought possible. A new article on Atlantic by Peter Andrey Smith, originally appearing in Hakai Magazine, explore the process of packaging and shipping bloodworms for use as bait – and what could be the downside.

Bloodworms are popular in the fishing world because of their versatility – an article on 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, but the way they are often packaged. The worms are often packed with a seaweed called wormweed, which is usually thrown away when the worms arrive at their destination.

Unfortunately, algae can carry invasive species with them. Algae can also be an invasive species in its own right, as researchers at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center have learned. And while wrapping bloodworms in, say, shredded newspapers is as effective as poison ivy, it has been difficult to convince many companies to change their technique.

Finding a balance between environmental appeals and environmental regulations is a challenge for all concerned, but the consequences are not minimal – a study has suggested that green crabs transported via algae could cost more than $ 750 million to l fishing industry.

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