Cooperhouse: I’ve worked in the food industry for more than 35 years, and over the past couple of decades, I became increasingly aware of the extraordinary challenges caused by our global protein supply chain, and the increasing interest by consumers to make their purchasing decisions based on product sustainability. I recognized that global demand for seafood is at an all-time high and is anticipated to increase significantly in the decades ahead. However, our global supply is diminishing, resulting in a significant supply chain gap that will exist during the coming years. Our global supply of seafood is increasingly insecure and fraught with issues of animal suffering and bycatch, damage to our oceans from trawling and nets, and potentially dangerous and illegal labor practices. The industry is also associated with products that are frequently misrepresented to consumers and potentially contaminated with mercury, microplastics, parasites, and pollutants.
BlueNalu was founded while I was working in Hawaii, which was an ideal setting, as Hawaii is located within one of the most biologically diverse regions on the planet in the center of the Pacific Ocean, and where much of our global seafood supply is today. We must do something to maintain our ocean ecosystem, as our populations of marine species have been cut in half since 1970, and 90% of remaining fish stocks are exploited or depleted. BlueNalu is a solution to this global challenge.
When I first learned about technical advances that can result in the manufacture of high-quality protein products via cellular agriculture and aquaculture, I realized that cell-based seafood could represent a solution, and could have the most disruptive potential in the entire global protein category due to the benefits that would result from this process. BlueNalu is pioneering the category of cell-based seafood, and we aim to supplement current industry practice, in which fish are farmed or wild-caught from our ocean. We will produce real seafood products directly from fish cells in a way that’s healthy for people, humane for animals, and sustainable for our planet.