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Biotech startups creating sustainable seafood from scratch

Date: 16-Apr-19
Author: Becca Campbell

Synthetic seafood could provide all the taste luxuries of the real stuff, without the environmental impact. Image: Unsplash © Unsplash

Synthetic seafood could provide all the taste luxuries of the real stuff, without the environmental impact. Image: Unsplash

A new and innovative form of aquaculture has been dominating the sustainable food market recently and it’s probably not something you’ve thought of before.

Numerous clean meat startups have developed cellular aquaculture, which provides an alternative for the unsustainable seafood system by growing seafood in a lab from marine animals. That’s right – lab-grown fish!

Finless Food and Blue Nalu are a few major names amongst the growing number of startups investing in biotechnology. These organizations recognize the growing global demand for fish and the pressure this puts on the ocean. Their mission is to draw attention to animal agriculture of sea species, since the focus tends to revolve around land animals.

Around 90% of the world fish stocks are being overfished and overexploited. In order to fulfil global food demands, fisheries extract more fish from the sea at a rate faster than the species can replenish its population. Innovation answers the dilemma -- how do we feed the world while not depleting fish stocks?

Overfishing is not the only problem conventional fishing presents. Affected by human pollution, wild caught fish often have impurities such as microplastics or high concentrations of mercury. The bioaccumulation of these two things can be detrimental to human health when consumed.

Traditional fish-farming poses environmental issues such as chemical pollution, diseases, and parasites. Sustainable fisheries work tirelessly to mitigate these effects, and to create new solutions for the best farming methods.

Biodiversity in the ocean and the treatment of marine life remains concerns. By-catch, the capture of non-targeted species, is one of the worst problems. Animals caught accidentally are simply thrown back into the ocean, their lives cut short. Lab-grown seafood, the clean meat industry argues, is the solution.

Biotechnology also addresses the environmental costs of traditional fish farming. Cellular aquaculture minimizes this impact by using fish cells. This method is revolutionary, being able to completely remove the negative impacts on both the fish and the ocean.


Positive Action

  • Avoid use of microplastics found in toothpaste and face scrubs. Microplastics persist in the environment and find their way into the ocean.
  • Try one of the household products we endorse which are healthy for the environment.
  • Become a good recycler by using our confusion-free Australasian Recycling Label, which provides simple instructions on how to recycle certain items, especially plastics.
  • Eat sustainable seafood and reduce your seafood intake where possible.


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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.

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Becca                                             Campbell

Becca Campbell

Becca joined the Planet Ark team as a marketing communications intern in March 2019. She currently studies at Boston University, pursuing Bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Marine Science. With a passion for ocean conservation, she hopes to cast an optimistic light on impactful environmental actions.

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