Atlantic Fish Co develops cultivated black sea bass

Raleigh sustainable food startup Atlantic Fish Co has developed and tested a cultivated black sea bass prototype, the company’s latest milestone in the production of sustainable seafood made from harvested fish cells.

In an announcement this week with the North Carolina Food Innovation Lab (NCFIL) in Kannapolis, Atlantic Fish said development of the sea bass represents a breakthrough in cellular agriculture. The company produces seafood by harvesting fish cells, feeding them nutrients and giving them a structure to grow on.

“Developing the world’s first cultivated sea bass is a win for our company and consumers who want sustainable, ethical seafood,” Atlantic Fish CEO Doug Grant said in a news release. “We will provide seafood that is also free of mercury, antibiotics, or microplastics.”

Atlantic Fish sea bass
Atlantic Fish's black sea bass nugget.

Atlantic Fish partners with NCFIL in the development of sustainable seafood. NCFIL has food processing capabilities and equipment that enable food innovation companies to accelerate and scale development of sustainable agriculture. The two organizations recently held a food tasting at NCFIL’s Kannapolis facility to unveil the cultivated sea bass.

“Atlantic Fish Co recognizes the need to develop sustainable protein products to feed our increasing global population in coming decades,” said Bill Aimutis, executive director of NCFIL. “Our team at NCFIL is excited about working with Atlantic Fish Co and other companies in this emerging technology area.”

Atlantic Fish’s approach is based on technology it developed that enables fish cell lines to grow in liquid suspension. Traditional fishing methods, combined with growing demand for seafood, have led to global overfishing and environmental threats. Atlantic Fish noted that traditional means of catching fish and producing seafood are responsible for more than 700 million metric tons of carbon emissions.

The development of the cultivated sea bass follows Atlantic Fish’s securing of a $100,000 small business research loan from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. The company also has received funding from Triangle-based Sustainable Food Ventures, a fund that invests in early-stage sustainable food companies.

Next, Atlantic Fish plans to develop growth media specifically for black sea bass and offer tasting events to potential restaurant partners.

Kyle Marshall, NCBiotech Writer
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