Last month our founder Stephanie Fels was invited to participate in the Annual Seafood Summit held at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY. Sea Grant is a U.S. government-funded program that supports research, education, and outreach activities related to coastal and marine resources. It was established in 1966 and is a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and universities in coastal states. The program aims to address issues such as sustainable fisheries, coastal hazards, and marine ecosystem health through research, education, and outreach activities. In collaboration with Cornell University and the State University of New York, Sea Grant provides funding for research projects, fellowships, and extension services to disseminate scientific knowledge to stakeholders, including policymakers, resource managers, and the general public.
One of the topics discussed was fish farming, also known as aquaculture, is an industry that has been growing in the United States in recent years. The practice involves raising fish in tanks, ponds, or cages for food production. While for some Americans may have a negative view on fish farming, many farmers operate with high standards of quality & safety and are an excellent source of seafood for consumers.
As it relates to innovation in the seafood industry, we discussed the emergence of cell-cultured seafood, also known as lab-grown seafood or clean seafood. It's a new technology that aims to produce seafood products without the need for traditional fishing or aquaculture practices. The process involves growing fish cells in a lab environment and using them to create products that are similar in taste and texture to conventionally farmed or caught seafood. The potential benefits of cell-cultured seafood include reducing overfishing and bycatch, minimizing the environmental impact of seafood production, and increasing food security by providing a sustainable source of protein. Regulatory frameworks are being developed to address these issues and support the growth of the cell-cultured seafood industry. Overall, cell-cultured seafood has the potential to revolutionize the seafood industry and address some of the challenges associated with traditional seafood production.
And finally, tinned fish was the highlighted consumer trend in seafood this year. More restaurants than ever are serving seafood on their menus. There are no labor costs involved and preserved fish has a long shelf life of several years. In the past couple years tinned fish has seen increase media coverage, consumer product innovation with new emerging brands and overall US sales growth of nearly 10% as a retail category in 2022 (according to the Wall Street Journal). This is an exciting prospect for Blue Cove!