Atlantic Fish Co. Pioneers Cell Lines for Cultivated Halibut and Other Overfished Wild Species

Biotech startup Atlantic Fish Co., headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, leverages cellular agriculture to create seafood free of plastics, mercury, antibiotics, and animal suffering.

Doug Grant and Trevor Ham founded the company in 2020 with a vision for a better future for people, animals, and the planet. The startup believes that cellular agriculture will ensure protein security by 2050.

The biotech is focused on the development of cell lines of wild-caught species, such as halibut, which are greenhouse gas-intensive due to trawling techniques and are also unsuitable for aquaculture farms.

To develop seafood directly from fish cells, Atlantic Fish Co. uses genetic engineering technology to scale fish cells in bioreactors, providing them nutrients for growth, developed in partnership with Defined Bioscience, and scaffolding structure for support. Atlantic Fish Co.’s products are said to be delicious authentic seafood but without the environmental impact of industrial fishing in marine ecosystems. 

Atlantic Fish Co.'s logo
© Atlantic Fish Co.

Cultivated fish for restaurants

Atlantic Fish Co. has secured funding from Sustainable Food Ventures, an early-stage funding VC that has invested in other cultivated food companies, including UMAMI Bioworks and Hoxton Farms.

Last year, the company also received a $100,000 loan from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center to support its efforts. Moreover, through a partnership with the North Carolina Food Innovation Lab in Kannapolis, Atlantic Fish Co. plans to develop its first product and has testing plans for some time soon this year. 

Recognizing that foodservice operations are at the forefront of seafood sales and often the most impacted by supply chain disruptions, the company is gearing up to introduce new restaurant products within the next two to three years. However, meanwhile, the startup has to prepare for the cultivated meat and seafood regulatory review process of the US Food and Drug Administration.

© bit24 –

The opportunity of cultivated seafood

According to a Good Food Institute industry report, until 2022, there were 156 companies globally working to develop cultivated meat and seafood. However, only a few focus on seafood, presenting an opportunity for startups and businesses seeking to provide sustainable alternatives. Atlantic Fish is considering licensing its technology to larger companies in the future, Grant told GrepBeat.

“Seafood is the most widely-eaten animal protein in the world. 178M metric tons per year are harvested through fishing and aquaculture. Because of this extraordinary demand, approximately 50% of the world’s fisheries are currently fished at unsustainable levels as demand increases and climate change accelerates the collapse of our oceans’ ecosystem. Our current trajectory, even with aquaculture, is not sustainable,” states Atlantic Fish Co. on its website.

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