Fish of the Future

By Alex Rose

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Seafood is awesome. Extinction is not.™

This simple and powerful message is the tagline for a company that was founded with the mission of creating plant-based alternatives to popular seafood choices. Ocean Hugger Foods is paving the way to a sustainable food future with their creation of Ahimi®, a plant-based substitute for ahi tuna that can be used for sashimi, poke, tartare, and ceviche.

According to their origin story, OHF founder and Master Chef, James Corwell, realized the need for this company while staring at huge warehouses full of tuna at Japan’s infamous Tsukiji Fish Market. He wondered how the oceans could possibly keep up with this runaway pace of extraction. In the book The End of the Line, author Charles Clover explains that “Nearly 80% of the world's fisheries that are already fully exploited, over-exploited, depleted, or in a state of collapse. Worldwide, 90% of the stocks of large predatory fish, such as sharks, tuna, marlin, and swordfish, are already gone.” The answer is in the numbers: the oceans can’t keep up.

After coming to this stark realization, Corwell decided to do something to help take some pressure off our stressed marine ecosystems, and began working to create a product good enough to compete with the taste of tuna, one of the most tragically overfished animals on the planet. The result was Ahimi®, the world’s first alternative solution to raw tuna.

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It’s critical for us to address the ailments that currently afflict our seas and devise ways to minimize our impact on the natural world through changes in our lifestyles.

In contemplating how best to go about making a difference, we must first realize that our collective consumption is what drives all of these issues in the first place. While it can be overwhelming to come to terms with the fact that humans and our harmful habits are entirely responsible for the destruction of the natural world, it is also empowering because it is entirely up to us to fix it. Becoming educated about the problems and using that information to make informed choices is the way forward. It is up to each one of us regardless of career, culture, or country, to work both individually and collectively towards a better, more sustainable future by taking responsibility for our lifestyles.

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Luckily, there are lots of things we can do to give the ocean a break. Many of them are extremely simple, and in the case of plant-based seafood, really delicious. You don’t have to wake up one morning and swear off eating anything from the sea ever again, but you certainly can try supplementing your diet with more sustainable options to reduce your consumption of certain types of marine protein.

So what exactly is Ahimi®? Well, it’s made from tomatoes and a few simple ingredients. Its savory, meaty taste perfectly mimics the flavor profile and texture of raw Ahi, so you can give back to the sea without having to give anything up. Ocean Hugger Foods has more products in development including Unami™, an eggplant-based eel alternative, and Sakimi™, a carrot-based salmon alternative.

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Right up there with climate change and plastic pollution, overfishing is destroying our oceans. Chronic and widespread overfishing is not only a problem for social, economic, and dietary reasons, but the loss of these apex species spells the end for entire marine food chains and ecosystems. By reducing our consumption of tuna, we can take some of the pressure off wild populations and give these critically important fish a chance to rebound.

The fish of the future is here, and we’re excited, not just because its tasty, but it gives fish a future.    www.oceanhuggerfoods.com

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Ocean Geographic Explorer (OGX) is a diving adventure resource with a special focus on marine photography and ocean conservation. Our content is divided up into six primary categories: Travel, Sea Science,  Equipment, Photography &Video, Conservation, and Lifestyle. We endeavor be a portal for people with all levels of interest in the marine environment  to learn about and become part of a community of like-minded ocean lovers who enjoy sharing their knowledge of and experiences in our fascinating ocean world.

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