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National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Cell-based Seafood

Investigating the conservation benefits of cell-based seafood

Recent advances in the field of cellular agriculture – the process of producing meat from cell- and tissue-cultures – have demonstrated the large environmental benefits that could be generated if a portion of industrially farmed and processed meat is replaced by cultured meat substitutes. However, for the newly emerging cell-based seafood industry, the question remains what the ecological and economic impacts of this industry will be on wild-caught and aquaculture products, and if cell-based seafood will provide conservation benefits. 

Our team of researchers from the Environmental Market Solutions Lab and NCEAS will develop first-of-their-kind insights into the conservation benefits and socio-economic implications of cell-based seafood alternatives and will help the industry prioritize its investments in cell-based seafood technologies, marketing, and other relevant interventions. 

Through four interrelated research tracks, the cell-based seafood team is exploring the following questions:

  • Does the state (e.g., collapse) of a countries’ fisheries influence aquaculture entering the seafood market and further disrupting fisheries?
  • What are potential bottlenecks to the uptake and conservation potential of cell-based seafood?
  • Will fishers fish less if fish prices are driven down by cell-based seafood, and how could this impact the economic well-being of fishing communities?
  • What conservation outcomes can we expect under various assumptions about the fundamentals of the seafood market?