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Kiwi Inventor Seeks To Change The World Of Fishing And Ocean Care With Sustainable Fishing Products

A Whangaparaoa entrepreneur has created new eco-friendly bait products using biodegradable ingredients that stays on a fishhook for longer than other baits, enabling more fish to be caught more cheaply, and giving anglers ‘real value for money’.

Ecobaits company director John Baanders, a long time keen fisherman and retired graphic designer, works out of his home garage. He says his startup revolves around production of the world’s foremost sustainable fish bait products, using 100 percent biodegradable ingredients and without using any fish product.

“The biodegradable bait is about the size of a thumbnail – and a third of the price. One kilogram of our Ecobait bait makes approximately 250 units of bait as compared to say pilchard where you’d get 40 baits,” says Baanders.

Baanders has to date made a lot of ‘bait’, using a biodegradable protein compound known as Gelamax 360, which Ecobaits has exclusive world-wide rights to for its line of products and specifically made for Ecobaits Ltd. Their products were created by, as Baanders says, “so much trialling and lots of error over the past 10 plus years. All our products contain Gelamax 360. It’s impossible to do without it. Many have tried without success”.

Ecobaits product range includes a type of ‘conventional’ bait that goes on a hook, a non-plastic soft bait, a super attractant, a non-frozen burley mix, and “fish lollies” – ideal for kids and people new to fishing.

Baanders has also recently developed an exciting, completely alternative method of fishing that literally does not require conventional bait. Using a fabric matrix, which is almost impossible for fish to remove from a hook, a small square is cut to size with scissors (about the size of a $2 coin) then coated with the Super Attractant and put on the hook. It may become called ‘Super Bait’, adds Baanders.

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The results have been impressive as each piece of “bait” lasts several fish attacks and often four to five fish are caught on the same bait. If the bait has lost some attractant all it requires is replenishment of attractant. Baanders says that a half of a 110ml pot of super attractant, costing about $20.00 retail, will last, on average, as long as three to four kilograms of squid or pilchard costing about $39-$52.

John Baanders, Founder of Ecobaits, finds success with his eco-friendly invention.

This translates to significant savings for any fishing enthusiast, but more importantly no bait fish are used leaving “bait fish for big fish” as food. It has been acknowledged that overfishing exploitation and depletion of bait fish are leaving fish stocks hungry. “None of our products contain fish, in fact we mainly use mussel meat, which is farmed and sustainable” says Baanders.

While many anglers worldwide have already made the transition to soft baits, Baanders notes that Ecobait is the only manufacturer in the world that makes a non-plastic soft bait. This means if the ‘Ecosoftbait’ comes off the hook, it will biodegrade instead of adding more plastic pollution to the ocean floor. In fact all Ecobaits products are edible and nutritious for fish and marine creatures.

Baanders says his reliable man-made products have the potential to change the fishing industry worldwide and is currently working with the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) Fisheries researchers to do exactly this. Baanders is also trying to raise capital or a partnership to expand his product, and the eco-friendly aspect of Ecobaits is an important part of the startup. A complete buy out could also be considered.

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