Sign up for the Chivas Newsletter

WHAT IF EATING SEAFOOD COULD RESTORE OUR OCEANS?

The exploding population of sea urchins are overgrazing and destroying kelp forests, turning what are the planet´s most important ecosystems into lifeless, desert-like barrens. Our aim is to reverse this by turning these destructive urchins into sea urchin roe, or ‘uni’, using our proprietary aquaculture technologies.

We are turning an ecological pest into one of the most premium seafood products in the world, in a matter of 6-12 weeks, all whilst restoring the planet´s most important ecosystems. We are unaware of any other agriculture or aquaculture venture that can create so much economic and ecologic value in such a short amount of time.

A restored kelp forest will bring back marine life, bind and sequester CO2, and protect our coastline from erosion and acidification, whilst also creating meaningful jobs in rural, coastal communities around the world.

FUNDING WOULD ALLOW US TO…

The funding will help us to spread the word about ecologically restorative seafood in key markets like New York, San Francisco, London and Tokyo, and increase market adoption. The quicker that chefs, influencers and consumers learn about and ask for restorative seafood, the faster our oceans will heal through our efforts.

Funding will also help us complete development on our automated urchin removal technologies. Currently, removing urchins from the ocean floor to help restore kelp is done manually, which is time consuming and costly. By completing our automated ‘urchin vacuum’ system, we should be able to clear urchin barrens 5-10 times faster than our current, manual methods.

FISHERMEN INSPIRED ME

I met a fisherman by the name of Hideki Takahashi, who told me of the struggles to recover after the devastating tsunami of 2011 in Eastern Japan. His community had rebuilt their homes and boats but could not continue with their former livelihood as the tsunami had washed away any predators that kept sea urchin populations in check.

By 2013, the urchin population had increased sevenfold and destroyed the kelp forests, which were the foundation of their entire fisheries. This was when I realised that we had the technology to monetize their overgrazing urchins and turn it into a new industry, while at the same time restoring their kelp forests and bringing their coastal ecosystem back from the brink. I simply had to give it a shot.

I would like to congratulate Urchonomics on the nomination – it recognises the hard work done every day. We are pleased to be affiliated with the company. Our common objectives should be reached in the near future and we can only hope from promising years together ahead. From the start of our partnership, we saw some exciting opportunities in the business model. Most importantly, it is aligned with our values: respecting nature, great job opportunies and sustainability. This is exactly the business development and the partnership that we are looking for. Jean-Charles Piétacho, Chief of the Innus of Ekuanitshit in Quebec, Canada

WHAT’S YOUR BLEND FOR SUCCESS?

With a blend of proper incentives, clear ethical boundaries and the right amount of human ingenuity, we believe restoring coastal ecosystems and creating meaningful jobs can be done responsibly, profitably, and have a sustained, positive effect on climate change through blue carbon sequestration. In short, to ‘do good’.

We were reminded of our purpose when we saw the devastating forest fires raging in the Northern California, right by our ranching site in Bodega Bay. The famous sequoias that were supposed to help sequester the gigatons of carbon being released into the atmosphere were all going up in flames.

Kelp restoration is perhaps the lowest hanging fruit in terms of our fight for climate change, biodiversity and food security. Every time we now hear about another ecosystem under threat, we are acutely reminded of our purpose, which acts as a driver for us to work harder, faster and better.