Major Opportunity for Lobster Industry Safety and Wild Fish Conservation

Greensboro, NC and Meteghan, NS - On March 3, 2020, Kepley BioSystems shipped several hundred synthetic crustacean baits for evaluation by a major lobster fishery in Canada under the leadership of industry experts, Clare Machine Works and Synergy Seafoods Limited. The effectiveness and palatability of the bait will also be studied in collaboration with the Université Sainte-Anne’s Marine Research Centre. Successful performance could provide the $1.4 billion Canadian lobster industry with a breakthrough that could eliminate the need to catch wild fish for use as lobster bait.

This ecologically advanced approach would be made possible by a new formulation of OrganoBait™, an environmentally neutral blend of naturally occurring biochemicals found in wild fish baits and plant proteins that can attract lobsters and other crustaceans. This product eliminates the waste and biological complexities of harvesting one species to catch another.
“As wholesalers and consumers around the world are more aware of food safety and sustainability than ever, our synthetic crustacean bait can offer an exceptional level of confidence, along with an array of advantages, from elimination of costly frozen storage, to no longer handling barrels of fish required to bait the traps,” said Kepley president, Anthony Dellinger, who continued, “As a start-up, we’re seeking new investors, and we believe this product can offer an unparalleled opportunity to any new partners we might engage.”

Worldwide, some 40 billion pounds of wild fish are caught every year to use as bait for catching crustaceans – leading to regional baitfish collapses, endangering a key component of the food chain, and resulting in millions of unintended incidents of by-catch and environmental damage from net fishing methods. With crabs, crayfish, and lobster fisheries combined, the global bait market is currently estimated at some $20 billion per annum.

“It has been inspiring to help prepare these synthetic baits for this major evaluation in Nova Scotia,” Lee Robertson, Kepley director of operations and scientific communications remarked and added, “We anticipate a transition phase for any fishery to replace wild fish baits with a pure form of their key components. That said, knowing what has attracted and nourished the catch while in the traps can offer both consumer and environmental confidence for any fishery that adopts this product – while helping to restore global fish stocks.”
“With our industry experience and the resources of the Université Sainte-Anne’s Marine Research Centre, we are in a unique position to evaluate innovative and effective solutions to benefit the lobster fisheries,” said Vince Stuart, president of Clare Machine Works. “Exploring and ensuring safe alternative baits, as well as finding ways of releasing and stretching bait further, can offer both consumer and environmental confidence leading to fishery success.”

Results of this product study are expected at the end of the next season. For more product or investor information, click here.

Anthony Dellinger, president of Kepley BioSystems, with an early prototype of the OrganoBait alternative bait technology.

Vince Stuart, president and owner of Clare Machine Works Ltd, is awarded first prize for the 2019 Ignite Labs Lobster Bait Challenge, a competition designed to spur innovation in alternative bait technologies.

About Vince Stuart:

Vince Stuart is the second-generation president and owner of Clare Machine Works Limited (CMW).  Founded in 1972 by his father, Arthur Stuart, CMW has been operating in the manufacturing industry for over 47 years.  Initially focused on products and services for the fishing industry, the company has grown and diversified its offerings to other sectors. This pursuit of innovation led Mr. Stuart to create various product developments with Matt d’Entremont, P.Eng. and Gary LeBlanc.

Mr. Stuart is dedicated to efficiently delivering and using the lobster bait that is available and designing custom-built trap handling devices for lobster fishing vessels.  Through ongoing research and development focus, Mr. Stuart with his partners has won multiple awards from Innovacorp I3 and Spark competitions, Ignite Labs Lobster Bait Challenge 2019, and received an “Invention of the Year” award from Popular Science Magazine.

About Synergy Seafoods Limited:

In 2015 Synergy Seafoods Limited was formed by Julian German and Joel German by acquiring the only fishing bait company in the area to secure a fresh bait source for lobster fishers in the I. Deveau Fisheries lobster buying/exporting business. By providing fishers with fresher bait, the company improved efficiency and increased the ease of doing business.

Synergy Seafoods Ltd has re-invested its earnings year after year, ultimately tripling the size of the business by 2019.  Starting with 30 employees, the company now employs up to 110 personnel during peak season; increasing sales and expanding exports.


About Université Sainte-Anne’s Marine Research Centre:

Université Sainte-Anne’s Marine Research Centre is dedicated to ensuring the sustainability and competitiveness of the fisheries and aquaculture industries through innovation, research, and education. Situated at the University’s satellite campus in Petit de Grat, Nova Scotia, Canada, the Marine Research Centre conducts applied research specifically designed to help the marine and aquaculture industries in rural communities face new challenges.

The Marine Research Center is recognized as a Centre of Excellence in industry applied research in lobster culture, live lobster storage and transport and training for the commercial lobster industry. The Centre also specializes in recirculation technology for live storage of various marine species including American lobster, Atlantic snow crab, Atlantic deep-sea scallop and blue mussel.