Around a third of global fish stocks are currently overexploited, analysts say
If a trip to the lake with your fishing pole just isn’t an option, an Israeli company has created a method of 3D bioprinting your very own ‘fresh’ fish – which, it says, will be ready for cooking immediately.
Stakeholder Foods has developed a 3D printed grouper fish fillet from stem cells, which are then processed via bioprinting technology into a fish-like shape. The product, which was created in conjunction with Umami Meats, mimics the taste and texture of natural fish, and it could be on supermarket shelves later this year.
“In the coming months, we intend to announce our plans for bringing this world-class cultivated fish to the market,” said Mihir Pershad, CEO of Umami Meats at a tasting event in Israel last week, via The Telegraph. “In the first tasting, we showcased a cultivated product that flakes, tastes and melts in your mouth exactly like excellent fish should,” he explained.
The development of the technology could have myriad benefits, particularly as it pertains to food scarcity – but also to the global issue of overfishing. Marine experts have estimated that around one third of global fish stocks are currently being overexploited. Grouper fish, in particular, are considered at risk of extinction.
Additionally, biologically engineered fish is free from pollutants such as microplastics, which might affect traditionally harvested seafood stocks.
The grouper fish fillets are created by combining fish stem cells with various nutrients, which are subsequently processed into bio-inks and then into a printer. The process of printing takes just a few minutes, and the product can then be immediately cooked and eaten.
Stakeholders are also working to create entire cuts of 3D-printed meat, including steaks and other seafood like eel. In 2020, the fast-food giant KFC partnered with a Russian bioprinting company to produce artificial chicken nuggets.