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North-east seafood company forms partnership to reduce plastic pollution

Macduff Shellfish hopes the research will  find a sustainable alternative to woven plastic bait bags.
Macduff Shellfish hopes the research will find a sustainable alternative to woven plastic bait bags.

A north-east shellfish company is taking action to minimise a particular type of industry waste.

Macduff Shellfish in Mintlaw has partnered with Sea Trust Wales and the BioComposites Centre from Bangor University for a research project on how to reduce waste from plastic bait bags.

The three-month  project aims to find a sustainable alternative to woven plastic bait bags used by shellfish fishermen and seafood processing factories.

The bags are commonly used in the whelk fishing sector – but are not easily recyclable and often end up in landfill.

Sometimes they fly overboard when used at sea, impacting on marine and coastal wildlife.

Head of sustainability and science at Macduff Shellfish, Claire Pescod said sustainability “is at the core” of the business.

She added: “We’ve worked hard on reducing, reusing, and recycling materials within our supply chain but bait bags was one area that needs more work to find a commercially viable and cost-effective alternative.”

The feasibility study will examine how the bags are currently used by fishermen and how they can be cleaned.

Marine project officer at Sea Trust Wales, Lloyd Nelmes, was delighted when funding for the projects was approved.

Mr Nelmes said “The issue of bait bags came to our attention from local fishermen and a chance meeting with Macduff Shellfish at a sustainability conference set us on the path to work together in addressing the issue and applying for funding.”

The research is being backed by The UK Seafood Innovation Fund.

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