Waste-free Fishing Bait Product

Burley Brick

There’s been a new innovation in fishing bait that doesn’t involve plastic bags! The ‘Burley Brick’ is a new product designed in Western Australia by Mendolia Seafoods in collaboration with Recfishwest.

It’s a plastic-free bait system designed to be used by recreational fishers as bait, burley or to put straight into lobster/cray bait boxes. CEO of Recfishwest, Dr. Andrew Rowland, states “the burley brick is an ideal product for fishing for demersal species where a constant burley trail is required”. 

This is great news for our oceans and the fishing industry as Western Australian’s make approximately 400,000 boat trips for recreational fishing each year. This product could significantly decrease the use of plastic bait bags and in turn, reduce the amount of plastic bags that end up in the ocean as marine debris. “We (Recfishwest) are always looking for new innovative ways to improve fishing practices, and this product moves us in the right direction, but more importantly reduces plastic waste,” says Dr. Rowland.

The bait is made from locally-caught sardines (a by-product) which Mendolia catch in Western Australia. The sardines are fresh frozen and put inside a 1kg biodegradable cardboard box the size of a brick.

There are currently three stockists of the product in Western Australia:

  • Hillarys Boat and Tackle, Hillarys
  • Anglers Fishing World, Fremantle
  • Tackle World Miami, Mandurah

Hopefully, fishers will move towards this new plastic-free product as a replacement to traditional baits. Recfishwest is confident in its product and Dr. Rowland states that “although new to market, the product has been popular with fishers, who have used it with success on species such as pink snapper and crayfish”.

The advantages of using the Burley Brick include:
• No plastic used - The cardboard Burley Bricks require no plastic for sale or transport, and the boxes are not lined with plastic.
• Low cost - They are sold individually for less than $5 each.
• Versatile - They can be used as bait, burley or go straight into craypots where the box will eventually disintegrate.
• Using a waste-product – The sardines used are a by-product of the fishery, so would be going to waste/landfill anyway.
• Low risk for disease - The locally-sourced sardine bait is a biosecurity win for WA, instead of using imported and possible contaminated bait from overseas or other areas of the country.
• System could be used nationwide - This could be done by each state (by similar fisheries) as to ensure a local and more environmentally-friendly bait product is available.

Photo credits: Recfishwest