Sustainable development issues often focus on terrestrial problems related to our direct environment such as soil, air or water resources, but there is also another element at risk: the ocean.
The oceanic environment is also undergoing warming and acidification constraints that are reducing its population. In addition to this, overfishing activities are taking place. It will take time to reverse the course of events. Some, more pessimistic, consider that the corrective actions are not even engaged.
Startups have found another way around the shortage in the oceans: making fish. For its defenders, this new form of consumption is worth studying even if it does not solve the problem of the disappearance of fisheries resources.
Several laboratories proliferate germ cells in vitro, which are components of male and female cells. On demand, these cells merge to produce fry. In Japan, Professor Goro Yoshizaki and his team at the University of Marine Technology are working on this challenge. In the United States, the startup BlueNalu will conduct test campaigns with a fish made from stem cells and served in restaurants.
Laboratory fish is generating less buzz than laboratory meat, according to the Good Food Institute consulting firm, probably because we are more concerned about the air we breathe than the survival of our gilled counterparts.
The “fake fish” industry, however, has already caught several startups in its net:
- Good Catch with its plant-based tuna sold at Whole Food;
- Ocean Hugger and its tomatoes that mimic tuna;
- New Wave Foods and its seaweed and soy shrimp;
- Impossible Food, the leader in meatless meat, is going fish.
Like veggie steak, isn’t veggie fish a food identity theft? Its promoters put it forward as an answer to overfishing, contaminated fish and even to the expectations of consumers sensitive to the smell of “real” fish.
Startups Blue Nalu, or Wild Type, are working on real fish stem cells.
These American companies are looking at Europe and Asia, two continents that consume more fish than Americans and, above all, are more sensitive to environmental issues.
This solution only solves part of the problem of ocean depletion: the satisfaction of consumers in rich countries who will be able to continue to eat fish on demand.
The question of the survival of coastal populations, dependent on this fishery resource, is also a social issue.
Sources: Courrier International and Les Echos