• Hatching a plan for Florida oyster farming

    Global Aquaculture Advocate
    • Jodi Helmer
    • January 23, 2018

    Panacea Oyster Co-op and Pensacola Bay Oyster Co. aim to build Sunshine State’s first hatcheries

    Rob Olin started Panacea Oyster Co-op with the goal of providing farmers with everything they needed to grow and sell premium oysters at a profit. There was just one problem: The Crawfordville, Fla., facility lacked a critical component for success.

    “We don’t have a hatchery,” he said. “If we want to be successful, we need to close that loop.”

    Panacea currently produces 20,000 oysters per week – a number expected to jump to 60,000 as soon as this spring when the latest batch of spat matures. Since opening in 2015, Olin has relied on limited amounts of oyster seed produced in some Florida clam hatcheries or seed sourced from hatcheries in other states, including those at Louisiana State and Auburn universities, to meet demand.

  • Investment firm raising funds for paper-based disease test kits

    Global Aquaculture Advocate
    • Twilight Greenaway
    • January 15, 2018

    Gaskiya Diagnostics’ affordable, quick solution will target smallholder aquaculture farms

    In aquaculture, disease outbreaks are the ultimate profit killers.

    Because fish are submerged in water, their overall health can be difficult to track. And when disease breaks out in a cage or in a tank, it can be nearly impossible to stop.

    “There’s a period of time before you see it and recognize that you have a problem,” said Brent Whitaker, a longtime veterinarian who has worked in various capacities for the National Aquarium since 1989. “We are very limited in the sorts of medications we can use if we face a disease outbreak.”

  • Panacea Oyster Co-Op winner of 2017 FISH 2.0 International Business Competition

    • December 6, 2017

    Fish 2.0 closed out its 2017 Innovation Forum today by awarding a cash prize to Panacea Oyster Co-Op. The International Business Competition was held in silicon valley (PALO ALTO, CA), where Rob Olin presented the forum with the Panacea Oyster Co-Op story. Mr. Olin provided additional details to judges during a 5-minute question-and-answer sessions on stage at Stanford University. Winners were selected from six regional and two global tracks.

  • Synthetic, Sustainable Bait Featured at Impact Investment Conference

    • Anthony Dellinger
    • December 5, 2017

    Kepley BioSystems among Most Promising Companies at 2017 Fish 2.0 Innovation Forum

    GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA, U.S., December 5, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Kepley BioSystems (KBI) was one of 40 of the most promising sustainable seafood companies chosen to present their business and products at the 2017 Fish 2.0 Innovation Forum held on November 7-8, 2017, at Stanford University. KBI placed in the top tier of its segment, and the final awards from the academic and impact investment participants’ ratings will be announced later this month.

  • Cucalorus Connect Panel Discusses Accelerating State's Seafood Economy

    • Jessica Maurer
    • November 15, 2017

    One of the topics during the recent Cucalorus Connect conference was the "Acceleration of the North Carolina Seafood Economy."

    The session included a panel led by David “Clammerhead” Cessna of Sandbar Oyster Company; Barbara Garrity-Blake, co-author of Living at the Water’s Edge and instructor in marine fisheries policy at the Duke University Marine Laboratory; and Ryan Speckman, co-founder of Locals Seafood.

    Panelists identified several key problems within the U.S. fishing industry, including the fact that 90 percent of all seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported. With a lack of domestic processing facilities, the U.S. is bringing in seafood from across the world, in many cases from countries with scant regulations regarding the handling of seafood. This leads to a wide scope of issues ranging from mislabeling to quality control, panelists said.

  • Pensacola oyster farmer is a finalist at international competition for fishery innovation

    • Pensacola News Journal
    • October 25, 2017

    A Pensacola oyster farmer is among the finalists in an international competition for seafood industry innovators.

    Donnie McMahon III will pitch his idea to make Pensacola a center for shellfish hatcheries and nurseries at California's Stanford University during the Fish 2.0 competition next month.

    McMahon, owner of Pensacola Bay Oyster Co., is among 40 finalists competing for cash prizes up to $50,000. The finalists will present their business plans to a group of 300 venture capitalists, nonprofit foundations and industry experts.

  • ShellTrak, ShellBond Advance to “Fish 2.0” Finals

    • Startup TechWire
    • October 10, 2017

    WILMINGTON, N.C. -- Four North Carolina companies, including two with UNCW ties, are finalists who will present their ideas to promote a sustainable shellfish industry at the “Fish 2.0 Innovation Forum” for entrepreneurs Nov. 7-8, 2017, at Stanford University. Of the 40 finalists in the competition, which could lead to investment in their businesses as well as cash prizes, ShellTrak and ShellBond are Wilmington companies with ties to UNCW.

    In March, UNCW and the Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation hosted a Fish 2.0 workshop for entrepreneurs working to promote a sustainable shellfish industry through new technologies and business ventures. Four other Fish 2.0 finalists attended that workshop to polish their business models and presentations for the upcoming competition: The Sandbar Oyster Company of Morehead City; Kepley Biosystems of Greensboro; Gaskiya Diagnostics of Baltimore, MD.; and the Florida-based Pensacola Bay Oyster Company.

  • Oysters loom large in Fish 2.0 finals

    • Rob Fletcher
    • September 25, 2017

    Eight of the 40 companies to reach the finals of this year’s Fish 2.0 competition are involved in, or have links to, the culture of bivalves – a measure of the innovative ideas emerging from, and being devoted to, the US shellfish farming sector.

    “Oyster ventures are innovating and growing, markets are changing, and investors are beginning to realise the potential for investing in this sector,” says Fish 2.0 founder and director Monica Jain. “And this year – helped by having sponsored tracks from both the Southeast US and the Gulf Coast, and the Northeast US – there have been several strong contenders.”

    She believes the number of bivalve-related businesses taking part in the competition is a reflection, at least in part, of the change in the demographics of an industry that’s traditionally been associated with older participants.

    “Many of the oyster ventures that have entered the competition are being led by people in their 30s and 40s and are applying cutting-edge technology to both the production and marketing sides of the business,” she explains.

  • Fish 2.0 sustainability contest narrows field to 40

    • September 19, 2017

    Just 40 companies remain in the US-based Fish 2.0 sustainable seafood competition and will pitch to investors, Nov. 7-8, at Stanford University, California, the organizers announced Tuesday.

    “This is the strongest group ever,” said Monica Jain, the founder and executive director of the every-other-year competition, which started this time with 184 initial competitors and had been narrowed to 70 before the latest elimination round.

    Among the remaining finalists are VakSea, a Baltimore, Maryland-based company that has come up with a new way to deliver vaccines to fish, and OneForNeptune, a company with offices in California and New Mexico that’s making jerky out of white fish offcuts. Undercurrent News took a look at both companies in an article last month.

  • Focus on ‘seatech’ in Fish 2.0 finalists

    • Jenny Hjul
    • September 20, 2017

    FORTY companies have been named as finalists in this year’s Fish 2.0 competition, which aims to connect seafood businesses with investors.

    The finalists, selected from 184 entries, have been selected for their market traction, global character and high potential for impact on the seafood sector, said the competition organisers.

    They will now have the opportunity to pitch to investors during the Nov. 7–8 during the Fish 2.0 Innovation Forum at Stanford University from November 7-8, after which winners will be announced.

    "This is the strongest group ever," said Monica Jain, Fish 2.0 founder and executive director. The level of innovation is potentially both system changing and very profitable.

  • Fish 2.0 unveils list of 40 finalists

    • September 18, 2017

    "The finalists—winnowed from an initial pool of 184 entrants—stand out for their "market traction, global character and high potential for impact on the seafood sector."

    Fish 2.0 on Monday released the names of 40 companies that will pitch their ideas to investors Nov. 7–8 during the Fish 2.0 Innovation Forum at Stanford University, the culminating event in the Fish 2.0 2017 competition for sustainable seafood businesses.

    The finalists—winnowed from an initial pool of 184 entrants—stand out for their "market traction, global character and high potential for impact on the seafood sector," the group said. About 50 percent of the finalists are post-revenue businesses, and more than half are based outside the United States.

  • Aquaculture Exchange: Monica Jain, Fish 2.0

    Global Aquaculture Advocate
    • Global Aquaculture Advocate
    • James Wright, August 28, 2017

    Investment competition founder talks innovation, competition and the financing aquaculture seeks for the future

    If you sell, you’ve probably practiced your elevator pitch, that condensed, to-the-point message that sums up the most essential information about you, your business or the product or service you offer.

    Perhaps you’ve polished this pitch in front of family or friends – or only a mirror – but delivering a succinct speech on stage, before hundreds of fellow professionals, with your career potentially on the line, is another matter entirely.

    That’s essentially the situation for finalists at Fish 2.0, the biannual investment contest. Emerging seafood companies around the world come to Stanford University hoping to hook into a source of capital to grow their businesses by impressing a panel of expert judges. The competition’s founder, Monica Jain, has a long history of working in venture capital, banking and other aspects of finance, and has worked on financial plans for marine protected areas.

  • Fish waste innovators hope to net investors in contest

    • Jason Huffman
    • August 21, 2017

    Nick Mendoza, the founder and CEO of NeptuneForOne, is working to convince whitefish processors in the US that there is a better return to be had for their offcuts than those gained from having them turned into animal feed, fertilizer or garbage. He wants instead to make them into jerky, a product that can be sold as a healthy snack, high in omega-3.

    Mendoza's San Diego, California-based firm is one of 80 companies -- half the original field -- still vying for cash and other prizes in Fish 2.0, the every-other-year contest for innovations to improve the sustainability of seafood. It’s one of eight that would do so by reducing fish waste. All are hoping to identify potential business partners and investors.

    Though the excesses of agricultural production and the food left on consumers’ plates are what most people think about when it comes to food waste, there is a lot of waste in seafood, Monica Jain, Fish 2.0’s San Francisco, California-based founder, told Undercurrent News in a recent interview.

  • Belgian algae producer on the verge of oyster industry debut in Asia, US

    • Jeanine Stewart
    • August 7, 2017

    Nevele, Belgium-based Tomalgae is on the cusp of launching a new algae product for oyster growers in Asia.

    Called Thalapure Mollusca, the freeze dried algae formulation may be just the beginning of the algae company’s foray into the international oyster industry.

    Tomalgae CEO William van der Riet declined to name the specific country of the launch, but he said the September plan—in time for the October growing season—is firm.

    “We have a partner in Asia,” Riet told Undercurrent News.

    Live production

    He said the product can replace live algae production at hatcheries -- a work-intensive process that represents the majority of operational costs for oyster hatcheries. Hatcheries produce the larvae oyster growers need to begin the growout process.

  • Walls Won't Save Our Cities From Rising Seas. Here's What Will

    • Joseph Bennington-Castro
    • July 27, 2017

    'Green' approaches may be the best way to protect coastal communities from flooding associated with climate change.

    To some people, climate change seems like a problem only for future generations. But for residents of many coastal cities, the future is already here — in the form of rising sea levels and frequent, destructive floods. And the problem is only going to get worse. The latest research suggests that by 2100, up to 60 percent of oceanfront communities on the East and Gulf Coasts of the U.S. may experience chronic flooding from climate change.

    The fix for inundation might seem pretty simple: just erect tall seawalls and other barriers to keep the ocean at bay. But barriers can fail. Even when they don’t, they can have the unintended consequence of harming delicate coastal habitats and the animals that live in them.

  • Alltech’s fish oil replacement vision gains steam following Coppens tie-up

    • Jeanine Stewart
    • July 25, 2017

    A few years into Kentucky, US-based Alltech’s expansion into aquaculture feed company ownership, the producer of algae and other nutritional technologies for animal feeds is continuing to find ways to increase its direct access to aquaculture companies.

    Through its acquisition of Dutch aquatic feed supplier Coppens International a year ago, Alltech gained direct ownership—for the first time—in a feed company. This added Coppens' 60 feed production operations around the world to Alltech's slate of assets, a major benefit for a company aiming to popularize the use of algae by feed companies.

  • US oyster growers finding promise in selling direct, says Fish 2.0 founder

    • Jeanine Stewart
    • July 13, 2017

    Seafood industry supply chains are notorious for being long and opaque. Not for oyster growers, said Monica Jain, founder of the sustainable seafood investment competition Fish 2.0, who sees oysters as one of the most promising sectors represented in this year’s applicant pool.

    “Most people [growers] are selling them direct,” Jain told Undercurrent News. She connects with oyster companies regularly through her biennial competition. This year, 161 entered for the chance to become one of the 40 finalists to present their sustainable seafood business ideas to a room of 300 attendees, including investors, at the finals in November.

    At this point, "of the 80 contestants moving on to this year’s competition’s final rounds, more than a dozen are oyster companies", Jain said.

  • SEA SCIENCE: Growing Better Bivalves: Science, Local Knowledge Enhance N.C. Business

    • Katie Mosher
    • July 10, 2017

    Media stories often cite Sandbar Oyster Company as an unlikely partnership between a scientist and a fisherman — a successful duo not only in the half-shell market, but also in ecological restoration.

    “He’s not my normal consideration of what a scientist would be like.” That’s how fisherman David Cessna, better known simply as Clammerhead, describes Niels Lindquist in a WRAL-TV story.

    A closer look reveals the collaboration is not so surprising. A few years back, they were part of an applied research team studying N.C. fisheries and habitats. Administered by North Carolina Sea Grant, those research projects required one or more partners from the fishing industry.

  • Can New Reef Design Save Historic Shoreline?

    • Trista Talton
    • June 6, 2017

    MOREHEAD CITY – A new design of artificial oyster reef-maker could buck the trend on where living shorelines best work.

    Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Sciences, or IMS, are introducing a type of reef that may withstand high-energy wave action areas typically deemed unsuitable for natural shoreline stabilization.

    Living shoreline projects are built with various structural and organic materials such as plants, submerged aquatic vegetation, oyster shells and stone. They generally work best along sheltered coasts such as estuaries, bays, lagoons and coastal deltas, where wave energy is low to moderate.

    This month, researchers will put to the test a series of reef platforms that are going to be installed as part of what is, to date, the longest state-permitted living shoreline project in North Carolina.

  • Pensacola Bay Oyster Co. wins top prize at Innovation Awards

    • Joseph Baucum
    • April 13, 2017

    Pensacola Bay Oyster Co. won the top prize winner at this year's Innovation Awards.

    "It feels fantastic," said Donnie McMahon, president and co-founder of the company. "It really does. It was an honor to be selected and a great honor to move the company ahead in what we're trying to do in Northwest Florida."

    The Innovation Awards, held this week at the Hilton Pensacola Beach hotel, are a competition that serves as a funding opportunity similar to the TV show "Shark Tank." Divided into four business categories — post-revenue, pre-revenue, veteran and student — 61 startup companies applied to this year’s competition. Judges whittled down the applicants to the best three in each category, and those companies presented their business plans Thursday.

2017 South Atlantic & Gulf Coast Shellfish/Crustaceans Track Sponsors 


Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation (MBCOI)

University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW)




Innovate SENC

NC Biotech

uncw cms

NC Sea Grant

NC East Alliance