Building a New Seafood Industry

Ethical challenges surrounding the beef, pork, and poultry industries are well-known and documented. But the booming global seafood industry also faces problems including animal cruelty, sustainability, and environmental issues, says Sandhya Sriram, Shiok Meats, in session PR300.

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By Nancy Mann Jackson

Ethical challenges surrounding the beef, pork, and poultry industries are well-known and documented. But the booming global seafood industry also faces problems including animal cruelty, sustainability, and environmental issues, says Sandhya Sriram, Shiok Meats, in IFT20 session PR300.

Along with the industry’s ethical issues, the world doesn’t have enough seafood to meet global demand. For instance, some experts suggest we will run out of crustaceans such as shrimp, crab, and lobster within four or five years at present production levels, Sriram says.

In this panel, Sriram and several other seafood industry leaders explain the need for disruption in the seafood industry and discuss some of the promising research and development currently underway.

Photo courtesy of BlueNalu

While operating the same way we have in the past isn’t sustainable, the opportunity to reinvent the way seafood is caught, farmed, harvested, and marketed is exciting, some experts say. “We have a chance to build a new industry from the ground up,” says Maisie Ganzler, Bon Appetit Management. A chance to improve labor practices and lessen environmental impacts.

Building a new seafood industry will ideally include sustainable fisheries, sustainable aquaculture, and alternative seafood, says Kevan Main, Mote Marine Laboratory. Plant-based seafood is one viable alternative. Scientists are also working to develop cultivated/cell-based seafood, in which living cells from aquatic animals are expanded and differentiated in culture, and used to produce a product that not only tastes like traditional seafood but also has the same cellular and molecular composition.

Sriram and Lou Cooperhouse, a fellow panelist from BlueNalu, run companies that are making fast progress in developing marketable cell-based seafood. By cultivating cell lines from shrimp and fish, they are developing new products that chefs and home cooks can prepare just as they would wild-caught seafood.


Learn more about the cutting-edge technology leading the effort to advance the seafood industry by viewing the session in the SHIFT20 on-demand library.

Registration for SHIFT20 provides access to the on-demand library of sessions for a full year.

Nancy Mann Jackson is a freelance writer based in Huntsville, Ala.

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