A SMALL north-east company that grows sea worms is celebrating its success after winning not one, but two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in this year’s honours.

Based at Lynemouth, on the Alcan Power Station site, near Ashington, Seabait Limited operates the World’s first temperate, marine worm farm, utilising waste heat-energy from a nearby power station in order to breed and grow premium-quality polychaete marine worms.

The company is now a leading breeder and grower of polychaete marine worms, for use in sea angling baits, aquafeeds, i.e., the use of marine worms as a dietary supplement in the Aquaculture Industry (farming of fish and other marine life) and scientific research.

The awards recognise Seabait for its achievements in both the international trade and sustainable development categories. 

Exports have more than trebled over the past three years, and now represent 54 percent of all sales.  Main export markets are Colombia, Ecuador, Europe, Central America and the Caribbean. 

The production method uses no biocides or antibiotics, reduces the need to collect materials from the wild and the need to import potentially invasive foreign marine worms for fishing bait.

Graham Rutherford (pictured), Managing Director of Seabait said, “Maintaining business growth in the current climate is challenging in the extreme, but the aquaculture industry is now equal in size to the traditional Fisheries industry and is growing rapidly.” 

“Our leading position in the UK and major international markets, coupled with 15 years’ commercial experience in the sector, extensive research and development, and patenting of the resulting intellectual property, put Seabait in a very strong position to capitalise on the significant global growth opportunities that exist.  Indeed, we are currently seeking inward investment to help accelerate our huge potential across these markets,” added Mr Rutherford.

Part of Seabait’s growth strategy, is to develop the business in the USA, a market believed to be worth several millions of dollars, and capitalise on the under–supplied market.  The simultaneous emergence of markets for frozen products already served by Seabait from the UK will enable the company to offset seasonal demand in the USA market, because production from a local facility would be used partly to meet USA demand for live bait and partly to be sold to international aquafeed markets, consolidated with output from the UK plant.

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