Greenhouse gas emissions from farming wild lobster and shrimp often eclipse livestock emissions. Animal-free chickpea-based seafood could cut our carbon footprint

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Credit: Good Catch
Credit: Good Catch

In 2016 alone, marine-fishing vessels released 207 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, compared to just 47 million in 1950, a study published in Marine Policy found. In fact, emissions from wild lobster and shrimp fishing are often larger than livestock farming, according to a 2018 Nature Climate Change study, because of an extra step not taken on land: hauling the catch back to shore by using boats that burn large amounts of fuel.

And like meat, a new industry is developing to replace seafood with plant-based food.

That’s the promise of Good Catch, which co-founder Chad Sarno hopes will offer for fish what brands like Impossible and Beyond have for beef. Founded in 2016, Good Catch produces a bevy of animal-free options: shelf-stable tuna (among the most popular and overfished species in the world), deli-style tuna, New England–style crab cakes, fish burgers, and more.

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“We have a food crisis on the horizon,” [journalist Ian] Urbina says. “Unless we start figuring out ways to wean ourselves from that current model and have alternate, scalable sources of protein, we’re going to see really acute problems.”

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