This month, San Diego, CA-based startup BlueNalu released plans to commercialize its lab-grown seafood products and outlined its vision for a large-scale production facility—the first time a cellular agriculture company has done so, according to BlueNalu. At scale, the proposed facility will produce 18 million pounds of seafood annually without the need to slaughter marine animals. “We have developed an optimal strategy for scaling up production of cell-based seafood from a variety of finfish, crustaceans, and mollusks to meet global demand,” BlueNalu CEO Lou Cooperhouse said. “BlueNalu will provide products that are healthy for people, humane for sea life, and sustainable for our planet. As a result, we can have a major impact on supplementing our global supply chain for seafood.” The company’s five-phase commercialization starts with research and development and small-scale pilot testing, evolves to a phase that enables market research testing, and culminates in 150,000 square-foot food facilities that can produce 72 million four-ounce filets (or equivalents of other seafood) annually. The company—which raised $4.5 million in seed-round funding last year—is currently producing fish filets and medallions in a pilot stage. BlueNalu aims to begin market testing its cell-based seafood in two to three years with the goal of building its first large-scale facility in five years. BlueNalu’s initial facilities—which will resemble a hybrid between a traditional food factory and a microbrewery—will be in North America, Asia, and Europe with the aim of replicating the facilities in dozens of countries around the world. “We are pleased that consumers world-wide are embracing alternative proteins,” Cooperhouse said. “BlueNalu is excited to announce that large-scale production of cell-based seafood is achievable in the near term.” BlueNalu’s advisory board boasts a number of highly respected industry experts, including Pierre-Yves Cousteau—a global environmental consultant and president of Cousteau Divers, an organization dedicated to continue the goals of his late father, world-renowned ocean conservationist Jacques Cousteau.
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