Finless the Future of Fish

Today on Popping the Bubbl, Sandra and I feature Mike Selden of Finless Foods. Mike and his co-founder Brian Wyrwas have a dream that I think we can all get behind. The business they are building allows them to make fish protein in a warehouse creating “Clean Fish.” Fish without contaminates, meat that looks, smells, tastes, and feels the same as the finest pieces of fish available in stores, markets and restaurants.

“Clean Fish,” is free from the pathogens, chemicals, plastics and poisonous elements like mercury that are found in farm raised or wild caught fish. Since Finless’ fish protein is grown in a lab, the demands on the earth are reduced. The oceans, lakes and rivers can recover from overfishing. I’m eager for the day when articles about all the contaminants in fish are obsolete. Who is down with never having to worry about getting Hep “A” from frozen Tuna again?

Fishing local

In the Philippines—much of the tuna consumed in the San Francisco Bay Area is caught in the Philippines—locals can return to their own ocean as a source of fish; once Finless is established as a viable option in the US. Currently, Philippine caught tuna is sold to California at a rate high enough that Filipinos are denied access to fish from their own oceans.

From their Medium post Finless notes, “Fishing is killing our planet. Our ocean ecosystems can’t take the strain of increased fish production, and fish consumption is in a steady rise.”

Finless is the answer and they are realizing the future. Their answer simultaneously reduces the burden on oceans/lakes/rivers, provides the highest quality fish protein; in terms of taste, type and health. Additionally, Finless’ process is exponentially more efficient and less harmful to animals than any of the current commercial fishing techniques. Oh, and as an additional benefit…Finless’ success means fewer sea lice living near our dinner.

Funding Innovation

Finless Foods is a graduate company from the Indie Bio accelerator that blends technology and science. IndieBio is one of the many accelerators that SOSV funds in their portfolio of incubators. From what we’ve seen here on Popping the Bubbl, Arvind Gupta’s vision on biotech is improving the future.

How fast is food tech growing? Read this medium post from Chris Joannau on the Top 13 food tech companies written in 2016.

What are Mike and Brian doing though?

The idea is to take the highest quality fish stock available, any species of fish—we discussed eating fish like Zebra, Gold and Guppy in the episode—and reproduce the meat, regardless of proximity to water. Also, because the cost of producing the fish is the same regardless of species, exotic locations, or grades, everyone has access to the highest quality meat. So, the fish we must pass on at $25 a pound is now available for the same price.

This means that at scale, residents of Denver can have sushi grade, fresh, clean swordfish every day of the year for the same cost as Trout, Salmon or Haddock. Otoro or Mahi Mahi sourced originally from the highest quality fish in the world will be reproduced, fresh, clean and delivered to your door anywhere in the nation once Amazon recognizes the power of Finless Foods.

Any fish, the absolute best quality, anytime, anywhere no harmful things that don’t belong in food…that’s what we’ll be buying. I can’t wait!

Sources

While exploring what fish costs, what tastes great etc., I came across a bunch of articles that talk about fish, the taste, the best species, all sorts of interesting pieces. They are linked here:

What Sushi Chefs think are the best pieces of fish to eat.

The most expensive Blue Fin Tuna ever costs $1.8 million dollars.

Choosing the Best Quality Fish—this article from 2013 is so old-timey compared to 2018.

One In Three Fish Sold At Restaurants And Grocery Stores Is Mislabeled

This approach allows for many positive outcomes. Obviously, delicious fish that is genetically the same as the highest quality fish from the ocean/steam/lakes. However, we won’t have to worry about pathogens, chemicals, plastic or elements like Mercury in our fish.

Fish and other meat-based proteins are going to be created in warehouses; and it’s an incredibly wonderful thing. It means more controls over how our food is created…fewer pathogens, chemicals and poison. Clean fish means greater access to higher quality fish, less waste, essentially no harm to harvested animals, potentially less pollution…and a lot and lots of quality made accessible to anyone on a budget. That’s a plan we can all get behind.


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