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New fishing product to reduce plastic in our ocean

  • ​WA company develops biodegradable burley and lobster bait boxes

  • The new product paves the way for cleaner recreational fishing

  • It is predicted there will be more plastics in the world's oceans than fish by 2050

An innovative new Western Australian product is set to reduce the amount of plastics required for recreational fishing bait, significantly reducing the potential impact on the environment. Recfishwest, in partnership with Mendolia Seafoods, has developed biodegradable bait boxes that are filled with fish waste that can be used as fish burley or lobster baits. The new bait boxes do not have plastic lining, or any internal plastic bag to contain the frozen bait, like other bait boxes do.

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly (right) with Julie Drago from Mendolia showing off the new Burley Brick

The bait product itself is made from local fish waste, like sardine by-products, and will result in less fish waste heading to landfill and the new packaging means there is no need to take plastic bags out when fishing. This is an exciting alternative bait product for the 140,000 Western Australians who fish from a boat each year. Research from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation released in 2016 predicted that by 2050 there would be more plastic than fish in the world's oceans. Prior to the McGowan Government introducing a plastic bag ban on July 1, 2018, Western Australians used more than 670 million plastic bags a year, with about seven million ending up in the environment as litter. The bait boxes will be available from selected retail outlets. For more information, visit

Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly: "With predictions that there is likely to be more plastic than fish in the world's oceans by 2050, we need to be doing everything we can to reduce our use of plastic. "This new biodegradable fishing option has the potential to reduce hundreds of thousands of plastic bait bags coming into contact with our aquatic environment. "Each year Western Australians make about 400,000 boat trips for recreational fishing. If these fishers think about reducing plastic bag use for bait or opt to buy one of these plastic-free bricks, there is the potential to significantly reduce the amount of plastic on board boats. "Fishers can either place the bait box filled directly into the bait basket of a lobster pot or use the contents of the box as fish burley. "An added bonus of this WA product is that it uses WA fish waste, which could help minimise biosecurity concerns surrounding current international and national bait products. "I congratulate Recfishwest and Mendolia Seafoods for developing this positive new product."

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