Overexploitation in fishing has reduced the number of wild fish, so that the demand for this food is increasingly being supplied with animals from fish farms.
“The business is booming,” says David Shenson, president of Sterling Caviar, a company that owns four fish farms in Sacramento, California, where they raise sturgeons to obtain their eggs, better known as caviar.
The Sterling Caviar firm produces sturgeon in California.
we are running out of fish and the situation, the trend, gets worse every year, “says Daniel Pauly, professor at the Institute of Oceans at the University of British Columbia.” data-reactid = “60”> “To put it clearly: we are running out of fish and the situation, the trend, gets worse every year, “says Daniel Pauly, professor at the Institute of Oceans at the University of British Columbia.
“Maybe several centuries ago we could use hunting to feed ourselves, but we can no longer live on that and fishing is hunting. The notion of hunting in the 21st century to feed 10,000 million people is absurd,” he adds.
Marine farms like Sterling Caviar are helping to reduce pressure on the wild fish population, but a handful of biotech ventures believe they have a different solution.
“Printing 3D Fish”
Stem cells are a type of cell found in embryos or adult creatures, which can develop as different types of specialized cells.
They can grow like muscle cells, which make up most of the meat in fish that people like to eat.
Laboratory-grown fish could be an alternative ingredient to many recipes.
we are printing 3d fish“explains Michael Selden, CEO and co-founder of Finless Foods, one of these labs.” data-reactid = “92”> “Imagine it like 3D printing, well, we we are printing 3d fish“explains Michael Selden, CEO and co-founder of Finless Foods, one of these labs.
Finless Foods and other similar companies have not yet started to market their products and still need to obtain permission from the authorities, so their fish may not reach the market for two to three years.
Without sacrificing animals
Wild Type, another one of these San Francisco-based companies, has similar ambitions, but is focused on Pacific salmon.
Wild Type’s lab-farmed salmon is pretty close to real.
“Our goal is to eventually lower the price of our salmon to be lower than conventionally farmed salmon,” he says.
The tanks maintain a constant pressure and temperature and bathe the cells with gases and a liquid rich in nutrients. After a couple of weeks, the meat is ready.
no sacrifice in this case“says Sandhya Sriram, executive director and co-founder of Shiok Meats.” data-reactid = “128”> “It is the same meat that would have come from a slaughtered animal, but no sacrifice in this case“says Sandhya Sriram, executive director and co-founder of Shiok Meats.
The company plans to launch its product in 2021, first in Singapore and then in East Asia.
absence of antibiotics and lower levels of greenhouse gas emissionscompared to traditional fishing. “data-reactid =” 132 “> She is excited to show that her product is” clean meat “due to the absence of antibiotics and lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions, compared to traditional fishing.
A third of fish stocks are fished at levels that are not sustainable.
While cell-based meats have a smaller carbon footprint than traditional protein sources, they need “a lot” of electricity, says Simon Somogyi, a professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.
“Where does that energy come from? Are they using energy from coal or renewable sources?” He asks.
“Fish has a better business future than red meat because much of the volume of fin fish is converted to minced fish and put into foods such as fish sticks and fish patties. Cell-based fish it fits perfectly into that category, “he says.
Wild Type’s Kolbeck envisions a future where fish lovers will have options similar to those who consume red meat (and alternatives).
“From real meat, substitutes of vegetable origin, to meat based on cells … not only will a bouquet be the winner, but the winner will be the variety and transparency in our food systems.”