seafood benefits

The seven health benefits of eating seafood

Seafood offers such a rich diversity of delicious protein and memorable eating experiences that it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that it’s...
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Aquatech and innovation – the changing landscape of fish farming

Aquaculture – already one of the world’s fastest food production sectors – is also in the midst of a technological revolution, with an...
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frozen scallops on ice

The many advantages of frozen fish

As a food category, fish and seafood continues to fare extremely well in what is a constantly evolving consumer landscape. Amid society’s soaring...
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Startups that are shaking up the seafood sector

With investors and entrepreneurs waking up to the true potential of the blue economy, there has never been a greater number of promising startups emerging in the seafood sector. While the majority of these are focused on the aquaculture industry, due to projections for its continued rapid growth rate, they also include capture fisheries and alternative seafoods.

Insects as novel aquafeed ingredients

One of the main criticisms of those aquaculture sectors – such as salmon and shrimp – which require the provision of supplementary feeds, is their continued reliance on wild-caught fish to provide essential nutrients. However, a range of alternative ingredients are currently being developed – as shown by the growing number of insect farms, for example. Insects are a natural part of the diets of many fish species, so feeding these insect proteins is a palatable alternative to fishmeal, which could also help to reduce the aquafeed sector’s reliance on wild-caught fish.

Innovafeed, which is headquartered in France, is one of the world’s leading insect-for-aquafeed producers, attracting investments worth €450 million to date. While its production levels are still relatively small, salmon and trout fed diets containing back soldier fly larvae from its farm have been available in outlets such as the French supermarket chain Auchan for several years and consumers are even willing to pay a green premium for them.

Developing precision fishing technology

Efforts to design fishing gear that’s more selective – i.e. limits bycatch and has a reduced impact on the seabed – have been going on for several decades, but it’s important to achieve this without drastically reducing the equipment’s ability to catch the target species. One startup that’s showing promise in this field is SafetyNet Technologies, which is developing a range of special lights that can be deployed with different styles of fishing gear to manipulate fish behaviour in a way that reduces bycatch.

Although it’s still early days for SafetyNet Technologies’ devices, extensive trials are underway in a variety of fisheries, in which underwater cameras are assessing how using different colours and locations of lights can help attract different fish species to – or divert them from – a range of pots, nets and dredges.

Cell-cultured seafood

A wide selection of alternative seafoods is currently under development and these broadly fall into two key categories – plant-based foods, that attempt to mimic the taste and texture of genuine seafoods, and the propagation of small samples of cells from popular seafood species in bioreactors to create’cell-cultured’ seafoods.

The former are already fairly widely available, but can fall short of many seafood consumers’ preferences regarding taste, texture and nutritional composition. Meanwhile, the latter are – in the long run – seen as having greater potential for uptake by stalwart seafood consumers, should the startups be able to produce them at a commercial scale and an affordable price. Potential advantages include the ability to scale up production starting with only a handful of cells from a living fish, and the possibility of growing only those cuts of an animal that are favoured by consumers – no energy is wasted producing bones or internal organs, for example.

Two of the most promising producers of cellular seafood are Blue Nalu and Bluu Seafood – both of which have been able to produce small quantities of high-end seafood samples in their labs. While the former is focusing on developing bluefin tuna, the latter is working with the lab-based production of salmon, trout and carp.

In a bid to bring down the costs of cell-cultured seafood, Singapore-based Umami Meats is producing cell-cultured grouper cells which can be diluted with a plant-based bio-ink produced by Israel’s Steakholder Foods and run through 3D printers to produce ready-to-cook fillets, which are due to be launched to market in 2024.

Seaweed startups

While several species of seaweeds are popular food ingredients across large swathes of Asia, most Western consumers have yet to embrace them, other than the nori in their sushi rolls. However, there’s a growing awareness of both the health benefits of eating seaweed and the environmental benefits of farming them – factors which have helped to inspire a growing number of startups in this field. These occur right across the seaweed value chain: from the producers themselves to companies establishing biorefineries to create a range of products from seaweeds – from fabrics to pharmaceuticals.

One startup that aims to have a big impact on the seafood side of the sector is Atlantic Sea Farms. Based in Maine, in the USA, it has a unique business model, in which the company provides free kelp seed for lobster fishermen to grow in marine sites during the period the local lobster fishery is closed. The startup then guarantees to purchase all the kelp each fisherman harvests – providing valuable extra income for the fishermen and helping to inspire the steady growth of the US seaweed sector.


It’s clear that there’s no shortage of variety when it comes to the range of emerging startups within the seafood sector. Picking which ones are likely to scale up and turn into a profit is no mean feat, but – regardless of which ones prove successful in the long-term – it’s a fascinating field to study for potential investors, industry commentators and consumers, who like variety in their seafood options and provenance.

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“When the going gets tough, Pittman gets going!”

Peter Lammertyn, Senior Key Account Manager at Pittman Seafoods, is relishing the start of the seafood exhibition season. Having just returned from Gulfood in Dubai, he is now looking forward to Seafood Expo Global (SEG) and the annual gathering of the Private Label Manufacturers’ Association (PLMA).

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Emerging trends in Europe’s salmon and mussel farming sectors

Over 500 aquatic species are farmed around the world, making aquaculture an extraordinarily diverse form of food production, responsible for a huge range of seafood products, many of which are traded internationally. In Western Europe some of the most widely farmed – and popular to consume – species include Atlantic salmon and mussels: species that can be grown in similarly temperate locations. (more…)

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Seafood and the UN’s SDGs

Sustainably farmed and wild-caught seafood can play an important role in the drive to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to ensure global peace and prosperity, while protecting the planet. Launched in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, they were duly adopted by all UN Member States as a pledge to work together for a better world, with a target to achieve the goals by 2030. (more…)

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Why sanctions are causing seafood prices to soar

The legacy of Covid and the ongoing Russian-Ukraine war have combined to create significant rises in the cost of living in most countries in the course of 2022. And the price of seafood, like that of most commodities, has surged. However, there are still options for sourcing sustainable seafood without breaking the bank.


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Pittman Seafoods wins award at 2022 MSC Sustainable Seafood Awards

In our newsletter on Sustainable Seafood Week, we highlighted our sustainable approach. Winning the Best Belgian Supplier category in our sector at the MSC Sustainable Seafood Awards underscores this once again. The awards were hosted in our country for the first time this year.The MSC awards are a boost for companies striving hard to improve their sustainability every day. Naturally, we at Pittman Seafoods are very happy to be recognized in this way. (more…)

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Why fish is so important to global food security

Food is essential to human life. As such, it must be provided to consumers everywhere in sufficient quantities in sustainable, stable and resilient ways. And yet, according to the latest estimates from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO), contained in its report The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021, between 720 and 811 million people in the world faced hunger in 2020 – as many as 161 million more than in 2019, while nearly 2.37 billion people didn’t have access to adequate food that year – an increase of 320 million people in just one year. 

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Recirculation Aquaculture Systems

What are Recirculation Aquaculture Systems and why all the interest?

Recirculation Aquaculture Systems (RAS) has become a very hot topic in seafood circles in recent times. Essentially referring to the commercial farming of fish and other aquatic species in intensive, closed-containment production facilities, it’s actually a concept that’s been around for several years. What’s different today is that the RAS ventures being talked about and invested in are extremely sophisticated, high-tech food production systems. (more…)

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