• Food, Fuel, Medicine, Wrinkle Reducer: Algae Does It All

    National Geographic
    • National Geographic
    • Monica Jain, June 13, 2017

    You know what there’s really plenty of in the sea? Algae. And I am in love with them. Most people envision algae as slimy, possibly toxic, green scum. But this diverse group of fast-growing aquatic plants is about to undergo an image makeover, and may soon seem flat-out glamorous.

    Algae got a lot of excited press a few years ago as a potential biofuel, but they’re turning out to be a sustainable super-ingredient with transformative potential in several massive industries: fish and other animal feeds, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, nutritional supplements, bioplastics and fertilizers. They’re also gaining favor as a vegetarian seafood. In all, the market for algae products could reach nearly $45 billion by 2023, according to a 2016 Credence Research market analysis.

  • Entrepreneurs Shine a Light on Seafood Origins

    National Geographic
    • National Geographic
    • Monica Jain, April 13, 2017

    Consumers who would never buy something generically labeled meat or cheese are often stuck at almost that level of information when it comes to seafood. The opaque origins and processing of many seafood products can hide a host of problems, including species fraud, illegal fishing, human rights abuses in the labor force, and pollution—as well as the resource depletion that accompanies these issues. A 2014 report in Marine Policy estimates that over 20 percent of wild-captured seafood imported into the U.S. comes from illegal fisheries.

    But this is quickly changing, as an increasing number of innovators in the seafood industry create new ways of making the system more transparent and seafood products and processes more traceable.

  • Oysters Built the East Coast. Now Entrepreneurs are Rebuilding the Oysters.

    National Geographic
    • National Geographic
    • Monica Jain, April 11, 2017

    The East Coast was literally built on oysters. At the peak of their production as a food source, these shellfish were so plentiful from the Gulf Coast to New England that discarded shells were crushed and used to pave roads. Oysters kept bays and waterways clean—Chesapeake Bay residents didn’t need to treat or filter their water. A 1913 National Geographic article proclaimed them “the world’s most valuable water crop,” cultivated as a year-round, dependable and inexpensive protein source. About 150,000 people in 35 countries worked to produce “the most popular and most extensively eaten of all shellfish.”

    The situation more than a century later is quite different. Oysters remain desirable, but populations have been decimated. The Gulf of Mexico has just 10 percent of its peak oyster population, and Chesapeake Bay is down to a mere 1 percent. The situation has been described as dire by many locals, who’ve seen dredging, overharvesting and disease destroy oyster habitats.

  • Your Relationship With Fish Is About to Change

    World Positive
    • Monica Jain
    • March 15, 2017

    A wave of change is upending the seafood business as we know it. Here’s what it means for everyone from investors to fish stick aficionados.

    It’s 2027, and we’re no longer gorging ourselves on shrimp. Or tuna. Or salmon. Not because they’ve disappeared from the oceans or we’re appalled by how they’re produced, but because we’re eating so many other delicious fish from land and sea — like porgy, dogfish, lionfish, barramundi, and others we’ve yet to meet.

    Our old favorites are still around. We've stopped loving them to death and have figured out how to both scale up fish farms and produce fish-free feeds for aquaculture so that we can grow low-impact, high-quality seafood.

    We also know exactly what fish we’re eating and where it comes from — sometimes we even know the fishers by name — so we can make confident choices based on nutrition and sustainability factors. Fishing communities are healthier too: they serve local as well as export markets, and new seafood products boost their economic base. Unsustainable seafood just doesn’t sell: consumers walk away from it the way they avoid foods with transfats today.

  • Could a Partnership Born of Fish 2.0 Become the Red Bull of Seafood?

    National Geographic
    • National Geographic
    • Monica Jain, January 6, 2017

    There’s a global divide at the heart of the seafood industry: the businesses that most need new technologies are often continents away from the businesses creating them

    Small-scale seafood operations in Asia, Latin America, and Africa catch and farm most of the seafood we eat. Startups in the U.S., Canada, and Europe are developing most of the technologies that promise to improve logistics, traceability, fish feeds, and aquaculture production. But distance and limited resources mean these businesses rarely meet. Bridging this divide is an essential step toward both healthy oceans and a healthy, equitable food supply

  • Creative Energy Flows to Seafood Sector in South Pacific

    National Geographic
    • Monica Jain
    • December 6, 2016

    “If you had the opportunity to generate income for a whole island, what would you do?”

    That’s how Lili Kawaguchi opened her pitch during the closing session of Fish 2.0’s Pacific Islands business development workshop. The question grabbed the audience’s attention, as did the rest of the Tongan entrepreneur’s pitch for her seaweed products startup. But it’s a pitch she wouldn’t have made two days earlier, at the start of the workshop.

  • Getting Investors Excited About Sustainable Seafood

     
    • Monica Jain
    • November 10, 2016

    Getting Investors Excited About Sustainable Seafood 
    November 9, 2016

    Anyone who’s spent time in the sustainable seafood sector will tell you it’s a growing industry, full of creativity and innovation – one ripe for investments that will pay out in stronger economies and healthier oceans.

  • A Startup in the South Pacific Could Be a Worldwide Model

    National Geographic
    • Monica Jain
    • Sept 7, 2016

    Alfred Kalontas, the founder of ALFA Fishing in Vanuatu, bootstrapped his business from nothing to become the preferred seafood supplier to over 70 percent of the hotels and restaurants in the island nation’s capital, Port Vila. He is now starting to export his high-quality, sustainably caught products to New Zealand and is seeing demand from Australia and beyond.

  • The Race to Find Fish Feeds That Don’t Bankrupt the Ocean

    • Monica Jain
    • May 24, 2016

    Wild fisheries are stable at best and declining at worst. That means we need aquaculture to meet the world’s growing demand for protein. And to feed the world sustainably, the industry has to figure out how to feed farmed fish without using wild fish stocks.

  • Fish 2.0 Network Scales Sustainable Seafood Businesses

    • Monica Jain
    • April 26, 2016

    “Fish 2.0 accelerated our business to a fundamentally different level.” “It’s boosted the confidence and pride of board and staff in our business model, in addition to validating our model with current and potential funders.” “Winning Fish 2.0 was a huge event for our young company.”

  • Tech and Business Innovation are Clearing Up Seafood's Foggy Supply Chain

    Huffington Post
    • Monica Jain
    • January 19, 2016

    The seafood industry's supply chain is notably opaque, complex and, in some areas, technologically deprived, experts say. But that doesn't mean it's stuck in the past. Dedicated efforts over the past two decades have improved the seafood supply chain's sustainability -- and we have an opportunity to do much more over the next several years.

    Businesses, NGOs and governments have been collaborating to improve seafood supply chain transparency and sustainability since the 1990s, as Meredith Lopuch of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation noted during a panel discussion at the Fish 2.0 Competition Finals & Seafood Innovation Forum in November.

  • Stirrings of a new seafood supply chain revolution

    Greenbiz
    • Monica Jain
    • December 16, 2016

    The seafood industry’s supply chain is notably opaque, complex and, in some areas, technologically deprived, experts say. But that doesn’t mean it’s stuck in the past. Dedicated efforts over the past two decades have improved the seafood supply chain’s sustainability — and we have an opportunity to do much more over the next several years.

  • Fish 2.0 Finals Spotlight Surging Innovation in Seafood

    • Monica Jain
    • November 29, 2015

    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.

  • Fish 2.0 Entrepreneurs Shape Future of Sustainable Seafood

    Triple Pundit
    • Monica Jain
    • November 23, 2015

    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.

  • Entrepreneurs Seize Opportunity in Seafood Traceability

    Triple Pundit
    • Monica Jain
    • November 2, 2015

    The seafood industry has one of the most complicated supply chains in the world [Tweet This] , often with five to seven companies involved from catch to plate, each keeping records on paper in far-flung locations. In these murky waters a new wave of entrepreneurs sees opportunities to make the seafood industry more transparent to consumers, businesses and governments striving for sustainability.

    The seafood industry defines traceability as the ability to track the source of seafood, the conditions under which it is farmed or caught, and the intermediaries it passes through. Improving traceability is critical to promoting sustainability in both aquaculture and wild-caught fish: The current, largely opaque supply chain hides numerous negative impacts, including overfishing, fraud, human rights abuses in the labor force, pollution and resource depletion. (See TriplePundit’s recent Q&A on seafood traceability for details on systemic issues.)

    [Click here for the full article]

  • Sustainable Seafood Businesses Tackle Food Deserts with an Ancient Farming Technique

    • Monica Jain
    • October 14, 2015

    One of the most interesting trends to emerge from the Fish 2.0 business competition is the increasing use of aquaponics, which combines fish farming (aquaculture) with growing plants in water (hydroponics). This is nothing new—people have been practicing aquaponics for centuries, in the Aztecs’ floating crop islands, the rice paddies of Asia and elsewhere. What’s different now is that entrepreneurs are developing technologies and business models for commercial-scale aquaponics farms serving communities with limited access to locally grown fish and vegetables.

  • Entrepreneurs Worldwide Are Taking on Seafood Sustainability

    • Monica Jain
    • September 29, 2015

    At SOCAP13, with support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, we focused almost 20% of our programming on investing in oceans, to raise awareness among the SOCAP community of the many ways that investors and entrepreneurs can improve ocean health through market-based solutions. Monica Jain is a leader within sustainable seafood who has continued building the marketplace for sustainable ocean solitons, at SOCAP and through the Fish 2.0 business competition.

  • Sustainable aquaculture surfaces as a target for food investors

    • Monica Jain
    • September 9, 2015

    The farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans and plants is the fastest-growing agriculture sector in the world, valued at over $144 billion, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

  • Island Businesses Succeed with Strong Strategies and Partnerships

    National Geographic
    • Monica Jain
    • August 19, 2015

    Are the rules for successful island entrepreneurs different from the rules for entrepreneurs globally?