Aquit, Zeal Industries win Responsible Seafood Innovation Awards
Aquit and Zeal Industries were named the winners of the 11th annual Responsible Seafood Innovation Awards, with voting taking place 3 October at the Responsible Seafood Summit in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.
“This is a really incredible, very competitive set of awards,” Toby Corey, the COO of Cruz Foam, which won the award in 2022, said. “There are over 200 applications for this award every single year and those applications are coming from over 50 countries around the world.”
The six finalists, split evenly between the fisheries and aquaculture categories, pitched their innovations to attendees of the summit, who then voted on the winners. The awards were sponsored by the U.S. Soybean Export Council.
New Zealand-based Zeal Industries won the fisheries category for its Uptime technology, essentially a black box for fishermen or gear that goes overboard. Located within a fisherman’s lifejacket, Uptime automatically sends out an alert when it detects that the fisherman has left the vessel. The system uses satellite connectivity to send out data on the vessel's location and where the overboard fisherman might be.
“Globally, over 100,000 fishers are lost to the sea each year, and our technology has the potential to save millions of lives,” Zeal Industries Chief Innovation Officer Ben So said.
Uptime can also be applied to fishing gear, helping fishing companies reduce ghost gear; or vessels, providing better tracking to prevent illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
The other two finalists in the fisheries category were Orivo, which offers analysis to verify seafood origin, production techniques, and specific feed formulations, and Ava Ocean, which created a new technique for harvesting scallops in the Bering Sea without harming the seabed.
Voters selected Aquit as the winner in the aquaculture category. Chile-based Aquit developed an additive that boosts the immunity of salmon without the use of antibiotics.
“We must take care of how we farm animals in order to take care of our own health,” Aquit CEO Daniela Allerbon said. “What we are doing is trying to replace antibiotics with an additive that we have developed with biotechnology.”
The company started with a salmon supplement, but it plans to use the same technique to develop supplements for other farmed fish.
“What we are aiming is not only to address this antibiotic resistance problem, it’s also to give a solution to responsible aquaculture producers that want to do things like we know that they want to do things,” she said.
The other aquaculture finalists were AquaExchange, which provides a suite of aquaculture feeding solutions, and Cresponix, which has developed a zero-waste shrimp farming technique.
Photo courtesy of Nathan Strout