Regenerative design is defined by processes that restore, renew, or revitalize their own sources of energy and materials, creating sustainable systems that integrate the needs of society with the integrity of nature.
Borrowing the principles of regenerative design, regenerative seafood refers to cultured bivalves and seaweed, which are produced in harmony with the environment, incur negligible environmental damage, and provide vital ecosystem services.
The buzzword of the moment in the seafood industry is sustainability. Like organic before it, these words have a limited lifespan, and a moment when they become ubiquitous and irrelevant. The definition of sustainability has been manipulated and misrepresented throughout the seafood industry. It is very difficult to really gauge the sustainability of a fishery in any meaningful way. For this reason I believe it is time to coin a new term that takes environmental commitment and seafood to another level. Regenerative Seafood describes products that are farmed in a way that prioritizes its effect of the environment in the following ways:
- Uses no foreign or introduced external inputs in the form of feed, fertilizers, antibiotics, etc.
- Minimizes deleterious outputs and waste products.
- Does not inhibit the ability of cohabitating wildlife to thrive in a natural way.
- Contributes to the environment positively through habitat creation and/or water filtration.
The seafood industry is fraught with misinformation and deception. Whether or not there really are completely sustainable fisheries in the world, there is no doubt that, from an environmental perspective, we ought to eat less fish. Wild fish are being stripped from fragile marine environments, while farmed fish pose public health problems as well as threaten the wild populations they were raised to replace on the plate. There is an alternative to wild or farmed seafood that decrease the amount of fish we eat and replace some of it with farmed bivalves.
The consumer can take back control and power in the seafood exchange because they can be aware of where the food was produced, who grew it, and how it got to their plate. This is a unique proposition in a confusing and misleading seafood industry.
With farmed bivalves, there is no guesswork regarding the origin of the animals. There are no green, yellow, red distinctions necessary because the farming of bivalves is compatible with and driven by natural processes. They are produced domestically and are tracked from harvest to plate with nationally mandated shellfish tags. Here we have a domestic, traceable, transparent system of getting food from the ocean to people’s plates.