Mendolia Seafoods Leads Plastic Free Ocean Battle

Burley Brick by Mendolia Seafoods – an initiative to reduce the amount of plastics in the water

Mendolia Seafoods was last night recognised when they won the Environment Award, sponsored by Woodside Energy, at the 2019 Western Australian Seafood Industry Awards for their innovative, plastic-free product – the Burley Brick.

The Awards event, recognising excellence in the WA seafood industry, was held at The Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle and opened by Minister for Fisheries, the Hon. Dave Kelly MLA, in front of an audience of industry participants and representatives of various stakeholder groups.

Mendolia Seafoods, with the support of Recfishwest, took a huge step towards plastic free fishing, with the launch of a new burley and bait product.  The packaging for the new product, named the ‘Burley Brick’, is made from biodegradable cardboard and is filled with locally sourced fish (sardine) products – making the entire product plastic free. It offers an important substitute to fishers by saving thousands of plastic bait bags entering our waterways.

WA Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) Chair, Dr Ron Edwards said Mendolia Seafoods has demonstrated excellence in developing and undertaking an environmental activity that has contributed substantially towards protecting or rehabilitating aquatic environments or reducing adverse seafood industry impacts on the environment.

“Plastics in our ocean is a growing concern for both the seafood industry and humankind.  Addressing one of the greatest challenges of our time, Mendolia Seafoods has show great innovation to develop a plastic free, biodegradable Burley Brick, turning Western Australia into a leader in the fight on plastic free pollution,” said Dr Edwards.

“Additionally, the content of the box is from Western Australian waters which ensures that any biosecurity risk is kept to a minimum. Advisors across Australia advocate for the use of Australian only bait and Mendolia Seafood’s Burley Brick gives fishers an innovative solution to help preserve our clean, green and disease-free environment.”

WA owned and operated Mendolia Seafoods share the community’s concerns about ocean pollution and subsequently came up with the design, using unwanted ‘offcuts’ of their famous sardine catches.

Fishers can place the whole cardboard box directly into their burley bucket or their cray pot bait baskets and the cardboard will breakdown. Alternatively, the contents of the box, containing one kilogram of frozen sardine waste product from the Mendolia Seafoods sardine factory, can be placed in bait baskets and the box discarded in the bin.

Innovator Jim Mendolia said the idea of the Burley Brick stemmed from wanting to change how both the recreational and commercial sectors use plastics near waterways.

“The success is the boxes require no plastic for sale or transport and if the box is used inside the cray pots the cardboard cover will disintegrate innocuously in the water,” he said.

“As an industry body, we recognise the importance of acknowledging those individuals and organisations who make innovative solutions to ensure greater stewardship overfishing resources, and Mendolia Seafoods are undoubtedly worthy of the Environment Award,” Dr Edwards concluded.

The application from the Western School Prawn Restocking Project was recognised by judges as Highly Commended.

For further information regarding the awards, please contact:

Danika Gusmeroli

Communications Officer

WAFIC office: (08) 9432 7777

Mobile: 0434 963 179



Dr Ron Edwards

WAFIC Chairman

WAFIC office: (08) 9432 7777

Mobile: 0408 925 805


Jim Mendolia

Mendolia Seafoods

Mobile: 0418 915 741


About the Environment Award

Presented to an entity that has demonstrated excellence in developing and undertaking an environmental activity that has contributed substantially towards protecting or rehabilitating aquatic environments or reducing adverse seafood industry impacts on the environment.

Judging criteria:

The activity:

  • addressed a high priority for the seafood industry
  • was end-user driven and produced outcomes that contributed towards protecting or rehabilitating aquatic environments, or reducing adverse seafood industry impacts on the environment
  • was challenging, required a high level of innovation, and direct action and/or extension to achieve the planned outcome
  • involved other users of the environment


About the Awards Event

 The event is supported by a number of sponsors including; National Australia Bank (Gold event sponsor), Fisheries Research & Development Corporation (Silver event sponsor) and Western Rock Lobster Council (Silver event sponsor) as well as sponsors for each of the individual awards, including Austral Fisheries, Bailey’s Marine Fuels, Baker Refrigeration, Bendotti Exporters, Geraldton Fisherman’s Cooperative, ConocoPhillips Australia, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development WA, Endeavour Foods, Francis A Jones, INPEX, Mareterram, MG Kailis Group, Santos and Woodside.

  • Award event attendees enjoyed an array of fresh, local and sustainably caught Western Australian seafood prepared by celebrity chefs and kindly donated by sponsors including; Austral Fisheries, BellBuoy Seafoods, Bendotti Exporters, Blom Fishing, Brown Dog Fishing Co, Cone Bay Barramundi, Endeavour Foods, Fins Seafood, Larner’s Oysters, Leeman Fish & Chips, Mendolia Seafoods, MG Kailis Group, Ocean Grown Abalone, Ocean Wild Tuna, Paspaley Pearling Company, Running Wild Fishing Co, Shark Bay Cockles, Shark Bay Seafoods, West Australian Octopus all served in compostable packaging provided by Ward Packaging.
  • Highly regarded “celebrity”’ seafood chefs cooked at the event including; Gurpreet Bagga (Sauma Northbridge), Naomi Bulner (Steve’s Fine Food), Neil Forbes (Black Pearl Oyster Shucking), Don Hancey (WA Food Ambassador & WAFIC Seafood Ambassador), Gord Kahle (Cook & Mason), Stuart Laws (Showcase Events WA), Kenny McHardy (Manuka Woodfire Kitchen), Brendan Pang (2018 Masterchef Contestant), Melissa Palinkas (Young George), Alejandro Saravia (Uma), and Nic Wood (Santini Bar & Grill).
  • The event was held on Thursday 25 July 2019 at Fremantle’s Esplanade Hotel.