• US oyster growers finding promise in selling direct, says Fish 2.0 founder


    • Jeanine Stewart
    • July 13, 2017

    Seafood industry supply chains are notorious for being long and opaque. Not for oyster growers, said Monica Jain, founder of the sustainable seafood investment competition Fish 2.0, who sees oysters as one of the most promising sectors represented in this year’s applicant pool.

    “Most people [growers] are selling them direct,” Jain told Undercurrent News. She connects with oyster companies regularly through her biennial competition. This year, 161 entered for the chance to become one of the 40 finalists to present their sustainable seafood business ideas to a room of 300 attendees, including investors, at the finals in November.

    At this point, "of the 80 contestants moving on to this year’s competition’s final rounds, more than a dozen are oyster companies", Jain said.

  • SEA SCIENCE: Growing Better Bivalves: Science, Local Knowledge Enhance N.C. Business


    • Katie Mosher
    • July 10, 2017

    Media stories often cite Sandbar Oyster Company as an unlikely partnership between a scientist and a fisherman — a successful duo not only in the half-shell market, but also in ecological restoration.

    “He’s not my normal consideration of what a scientist would be like.” That’s how fisherman David Cessna, better known simply as Clammerhead, describes Niels Lindquist in a WRAL-TV story.

    A closer look reveals the collaboration is not so surprising. A few years back, they were part of an applied research team studying N.C. fisheries and habitats. Administered by North Carolina Sea Grant, those research projects required one or more partners from the fishing industry.

  • Can New Reef Design Save Historic Shoreline?


    • Trista Talton
    • June 6, 2017

    MOREHEAD CITY – A new design of artificial oyster reef-maker could buck the trend on where living shorelines best work.

    Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Sciences, or IMS, are introducing a type of reef that may withstand high-energy wave action areas typically deemed unsuitable for natural shoreline stabilization.

    Living shoreline projects are built with various structural and organic materials such as plants, submerged aquatic vegetation, oyster shells and stone. They generally work best along sheltered coasts such as estuaries, bays, lagoons and coastal deltas, where wave energy is low to moderate.

    This month, researchers will put to the test a series of reef platforms that are going to be installed as part of what is, to date, the longest state-permitted living shoreline project in North Carolina.

  • Pensacola Bay Oyster Co. wins top prize at Innovation Awards


    • Joseph Baucum
    • April 13, 2017

    Pensacola Bay Oyster Co. won the top prize winner at this year's Innovation Awards.

    "It feels fantastic," said Donnie McMahon, president and co-founder of the company. "It really does. It was an honor to be selected and a great honor to move the company ahead in what we're trying to do in Northwest Florida."

    The Innovation Awards, held this week at the Hilton Pensacola Beach hotel, are a competition that serves as a funding opportunity similar to the TV show "Shark Tank." Divided into four business categories — post-revenue, pre-revenue, veteran and student — 61 startup companies applied to this year’s competition. Judges whittled down the applicants to the best three in each category, and those companies presented their business plans Thursday.

  • 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.

  • Workshop Links Regional Seafood Startups With Global Resources


    • Daniel G. Baden
    • April 10, 2017

    Encouraging collaboration between scientists and business has always been a prime mission at the MARBIONC Center. We were pleased to recently host an event aimed specifically at small start-ups in the seafood and aquaculture industries, which of course ties in directly with our marine science research.

    The Fish 2.0 organization’s first regional workshop in the southeastern United States was held here, on our CREST Research Park campus, March 15 through 17. Nearly two dozen fledgling enterprises from a 12-state region attended, making connections and gaining skills needed to attract investors and grow their businesses.

  • Casting For Seafood Startups


    • Jenny Callison
    • April 7, 2017

    Entrepreneurs with shellfish-related ventures in the 12-state Southeastern U.S. region have until April 29 to apply for a competition intended to give winners a toehold in the sustainable seafood market.

    Fish 2.0, founded by executive director Monica Jain, uses a competition platform to connect seafood innovators, investors and industry experts so that promising ventures can find funding and knowledge resources.

    [Click here for the full article]

  • South Atlantic & Gulf Coast Shellfish/Crustaceans Workshop Coverage


     

    WECT 6 News: City council gets update on UNCW's innovation center

    Wilmington Biz: Fish 2.0 Workshop Draws Seafood Industry Startups

    UNCW News: CREST Campus, MARBIONC to Host “Fish 2.0” Workshop Promoting Sustainable Seafood

    Houma Today: Workshop, competition offered for shellfish-related businesses

    NC IDEA: NC IDEA Foundation Awards Ecosystem Partner Grant to Marine Bio- Technologies Center of Innovation

    WilmingtonBiz: UNCW Announces Shellfish Workshop, Initiative For Businesses

  • Fish 2.0 Workshop Draws Seafood Industry Startups


    • Jenny Callison
    • March 17, 2017

    Oysters, crab, shrimp, lobster and scallops were on the menu at this week’s Fish 2.0 South Atlantic & Gulf Coast Shellfish Workshop, hosted by University of North Carolina Wilmington at the university’s MARBIONC facility.

    Fish 2.0, founded by executive director Monica Jain, uses a competition platform to connect seafood innovators, investors and industry experts so that promising ventures could find funding and knowledge resources.

    [Click here for the full article]

  • Could this indoor shrimp farm be the future of Greenville’s seafood supply?


    • Andrew Moore
    • February 17, 2017

    Tucked away in a warehouse just south of downtown Greenville, marine biologist Valeska Minkowski has been quietly incubating a food source that’s typically found thousands of miles away off the coast of California: Pacific white shrimp.

    In June, Minkowski started an indoor shrimp farm called Urban Seas Aquaculture. It’s a big change of pace for the scientist who once spent her summers reintroducing long-spined sea urchins to coral reefs off the coast of Florida.

    Now Minkowski is part of a small, yet growing group of American farmers trying to feed the country’s seemingly insatiable appetite for shrimp and other seafood, without damaging coastal ecosystems and using harmful chemicals.

  • South Atlantic & Gulf Coast Shellfish Businesses: Apply Now for March Fish 2.0 Workshop

    Fish20.org
    • CARMEL, CA
    • January 25, 2017

    Fish 2.0 will hold a free three-day business development workshop for South Atlantic and Gulf Coast shellfish entrepreneurs at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) March 15–17, 2017. Participants will learn how to communicate about their business in a way that attracts interest, practice pitching to investors and buyers, and get advice on integrating social and environmental sustainability into their business strategy. The simple one-page workshop application, available at www.fish20.org/atlanticgulfworkshop, is due by Feb. 13.