After seven years of testing, Vigo fisherman Angel Rodriguez was about to give up on testing the bait developed by Vigo company Kf Iber Frost, but it turned out that it was worth persevering.
The bait is a mixture of fish products that is provided in the form of a sausage. Fishermen can slice this into chunks to bait trammel nets, surface longlines or traps, and the results have been worth waiting for.
Last November, Angel started getting better catches on his 9.60 metre inshore netter Claribel Maria which he fishes from Vigo, hauling his trammel nets every day during the week bringing them in at weekends.
‘I could see I was getting better results,’ he said.
‘I work around other boats and I might be getting 7-8kg of soles while the bigger boats with more gear were only getting 2-3kg. It’s the bait that makes the difference.’
There is a long process of trial and error behind the Mas Que Cebos (More Than Bait) that goes into the bait sausages, and the recipe is a well-kept secret, although sales manager Alberto Novoa Gonzales said that the quality is such that the bait has a quality and hygiene rating that means it could be used for human consumption.
‘It works and we know we have the right combination,’ he said, explaining that the bait is cut into pieces and placed in gauze bags on the corkline of a net or in a cotton bag on a longline hook. The bait lasts from three to five days before the gear needs to be rebaited.
As well as being used in Spain, the Mas Que Cebos bait has been exported for use in Portugal and Mauritania, plus a Spanish fisherman now living in New Zealand has used it successfully on the other side of the world.
For the swordfish longliners, two tonnes Mas Que Cebos sausage bait is enough to replace around ten tonnes of the frozen mackerel they would usually carry, with the advantage that it does not need to be frozen or chilled, and the cost is roughly the same, he said.