Cod hooked on innovative bait
An innovation from Polybait may revolutionise angling, not only in Norway but also abroad. It could mean the end of traditional bait.
Field trials by Nofima of the odour-based bait KvalvikBait have been very promising, and Norwegian and international patents have been sought for the invention. This research-based bait may lead to larger catches and more sustainable fishing.
“Systematic field trials based on scientific principles have led to what I consider to be a breakthrough in our research. I believe that we can successfully take the step from laboratory to commercial use,” says Senior scientist Sten Siikavuopio at Nofima.
After extensive research, the odour-based bait was commercially launched last year, as a cream for fishing enthusiasts. Since then, research has continued into the use of the product at sea. Siikavuopio can now present evidence that its effectiveness is just as good in the fjords as in the laboratory. The field trials have focussed in fishing for cod.
“We have made several scientific breakthroughs during the winter, and large-scale trials of line fishing will start this autumn. Our research has shown that 60 gram of this product is as effective as 1 kilogram of herring used as bait. This means that fishing with the new bait will be much more sustainable,” says Sten Siikavuopio.
Several patents both in Norway and abroad have been applied for to cover KvalvikBait. The company behind the products is Polybait AS, founded by Svein Kvalvik and based at Tromsø Science Park.
The research has produced a cream that is used by fishing enthusiasts as an attractant on jigs, flies, etc. A network of retailers is being built up in Norway to service the needs of fishing enthusiasts. The product is also to be offered for sale on Ebay and Amazon, and marketing studies have been started in Great Britain and Germany, in collaboration with Innovation Norway.
“Results from field trials and the development of the product have been so promising that I’m sure that there is a market for this product,” says Svein Kvalvik. “Sixty-five retailers are carrying the product in Norway, and we have recently signed a contract with the Gresvig chain.”
Scientists have worked on improving the product during the winter. The strength of the odour has been increased and the composition improved, such that the bait gives off a stronger scent and has better adhesive properties.
The Directorate of Fisheries has provided a grant of NOK 430,000 to support large-scale trials with line fishing during the autumn. Boats will be hired to use the KvalvikBait instead of traditional bait.
“The product until now has principally been a product for anglers, but we are now scaling it up and aiming for industrial use,” says Svein Kvalvik.
Odour from marine raw materials
KvalvikBait is an artificial bait based on marine raw materials. The extracts are produced at Nofima’s facility at Kaldfjord, in a process that has undergone considerable improvement during the past 6 months. Work is now under way with partners in Furuflaten to establish a production company.
“We are working to make the bait a cable for line fishing, to be cut when it is suitable. This system will be ready in the autumn. At the moment we’re reaping the benefits of progress in research that has come about in recent times,” says Svein Kvalvik.
The bait does not pollute the environment and is biologically degradable. The use of waste products from fish processing means that other fish is not used as bait, as is otherwise usual in line fishing. This means that line fishing becomes more sustainable and we can tailor odour and taste to achieve selective fishing.
Kvalvikbait, brief facts
- Kvalvikbait is an odour-based bait developed by Svein Kvalvik from Lofoten together with scientists from the food research institute Nofima, SINTEF Materials and Chemistry, and three industrial partners: Borregaard AS, Akvaren AS and Haplast AS.
- The attractant for fishing enthusiasts is in the form of a jelly or cream, sold in tubes. The contents have been extracted from marine raw materials. Scientists have experimentally developed three types of bait with different active ingredients, designed for cod, halibut, or trout/salmon/charr.
- The bait developed for line use is an artificial, degradable matrix similar to fish meat. It is given an odour and taste that are designed for certain types of fish, and can be applied manually or automatically.
- The research that lies behind the new bait has been supported by the Research Council of Norway, Innovation Norway and Mabit.