As most TriplePundit readers know, our oceans and the people who depend on them are in trouble. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, about 70 percent of the world’s fisheries are fully exploited, overexploited or collapsing under the pressure of a $390 billion global seafood market. Yet analysts expect seafood demand to double by 2050, and island and coastal communities around the world depend on seafood for both sustenance and economic health.
The Fish 2.0 business competition aims to accelerate solutions to this huge challenge by connecting sustainable fishing and aquaculture ventures with investors who could help them thrive. The value of making those connections was clear from last week’s 2015 Fish 2.0 Competition Finals & Sustainable Seafood Innovation Forum at Stanford University, where 37 entrepreneurs took the stage to pitch their businesses to investors. This talented group—which rose to the top in a four-phase process that initially involved 170 entrants—reflects a surge in entrepreneurial activity in the seafood sector worldwide. It also demonstrates the diversity and creativity of responses to seafood’s social and environmental challenges.
Aquaculture businesses had a particularly strong presence in the Fish 2.0 competition. Two of the six cash-prize winners are in the fish farming field: Kampachi Farms Mexico, an open-ocean aquaculture business focused on growing sashimi-grade fish, and Nova Scotia–based SabrTech, whose RiverBox system provides algae-based aquaculture feed using waste streams from fish farms. These businesses and others in the competition seek to serve rising consumer demand for seafood while taking pressure off wild fish stocks, reducing aquaculture’s environmental impact and extending community benefits.
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