Kingfish Co. Wants To Revolutionize Inland Agriculture
The Earth’s ocean ecosystems are deteriorating. Wild fish stocks are increasingly vulnerable.
Photo Insert: A Kingfish Company facility
And yet by the year 2050, global demand for seafood may have increased by as much as 80%, according to research from the Blue Food Assessment, Camille Bond reported for The Spoon.
The Kingfish Co. wants to help satisfy some of that demand while reducing the environmental toll of seafood production. The agriculture tech company launched its first land-based aquaculture production facility in the Netherlands before introducing its flagship line of yellowtail kingfish products in Whole Foods Markets across the US. Soon, Kingfish will bring its production operations to the US with a new facility in Maine.
Kingfish founding partner and CEO Ohad Maiman said traditional aquaculture has raised global seafood production capacity in recent decades, but the alarm has been raised recently about the industry’s environmental impacts.
Traditional fish farms can create toxic algal blooms and ocean dead zones; farmed fish can also transmit diseases to already-vulnerable wild populations. In response to these concerns, Washington state banned salmon farming in 2018, and Argentina became the first country to ban the practice this year.
“Thinking about the next 30 years of continued growth in demand for seafood, we saw the need for a technological solution,” Maiman told The Spoon.
Kingfish aims to solve some of the problems of traditional aquaculture, the biggest of which is ocean pollution. In underwater cage farming, animal waste and uneaten feed get released into the surrounding water.
In Kingfish’s system, the flow of water is more controlled: Water is cleaned on its way into the system to maintain optimal conditions and cleaned again on its way out to the sea.
The controlled nature of Kingfish’s farm environment also allows the company to prevent parasites or diseases from entering the system, eliminating the need to administer antibiotics or other medications (another problem of traditional aquaculture).
There’s also the problem of seafood feed: Some traditional aquaculture operations use massive quantities of wild fish to feed their farmed species. The use of lower-grade feed in traditional aquaculture can also lead to less nutritious seafood products.
Because Kingfish operates in the premium seafood space, the company can source higher-quality+ feed options and cut down on marine ingredients—replacing fish meal with insect meal, for example.