This project aims to develop innovative products and systems to reduce ocean plastic originating from inappropriate and accidental disposal of plastic bait bags primarily used in the shellfish (particularly whelk) industry.
Take the Bait is an innovative UK-wide partnership between Macduff Shellfish, Bangor University’s BioComposites Centre, and the Pembrokeshire-based charity Sea Trust. The feasibility study aimed to develop innovative products and systems to reduce ocean plastic originating from bait bags primarily used in the shellfish industry. The project involved working together to find a holistic solution, firstly to prevent these bags from reaching the ocean, but also investigating the possibility of developing a biodegradable material incase they do.
Working with the fishers was key to the success of the project and a human-centred design approach was used to determine how the fishers currently use the bait bag and how the design could be improved. Results showed that some simple design changes could increase the reusability of the bag. These included redesigning the opening of the bag making it easier to open and making the bag stronger. This would reduce the likelihood of the bag being cut open and discarded after a single use.
Experiments on the bait bags explored how they could be cleaned, and, through a circular economy, the material reprocessed into a polymer bag which is more robust and readily recyclable. Investigations were made into novel biopolymer combinations; however further experimental work is required to fully optimize the formulation for this bait bag application. Plans for the next phase of the project include producing and trialling a new bait bag that will not only be more sustainable but will be better and more practical for fishers to use.
Sea Trust Wales