When you are out eating sushi or baking your favorite fish at home, do you give any thought to where exactly that fish came from? Or how it was harvested from the ocean? With over 55% of global fish populations at levels of overexploitation and 128 million tons of fish removed annually, the traceability of fish and fish products is critical for enforcement and the overall sustainability of these fisheries. Well, two young entrepreneurs are working to drive a change in the seafood industry and influence small-scale fisheries across the world in the form of Salty Girl Seafood Inc.
This sustainable seafood company develops traceable, chef-quality seafood that encourages sustainable fishing practices and good stewardship of our world’s oceans. Headquartered in Santa Barbara, California, Salty Girl Seafood was established in 2014 after founders Norah Eddy and Laura Johnson graduated from the UCSB Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. “Laura and I started dreaming up the idea of Salty Girl on our very first day of grad school – the day we met,” said Norah Eddy, co-founder of Salty Girl Seafood Inc. “We were (and are!) passionate about finding solutions to the problems facing our world’s oceans, particularly fisheries. Salty Girl was a way for us to put our creative energy into finding such solutions.”
Salty Girl Seafood Inc. acts as the middleman between the fishermen and the seafood distributors and restaurants. All seafood is purchased directly from the fishermen, allowing the company to have complete control over the supply chain. “This makes traceability fairly straightforward for us at this point in time,” said Eddy. “And traceability is inextricably linked to sustainability, [and] this is key to what we do.” Salty Girl Seafood Inc. is able to provide information about where each seafood product was caught, how it was harvested, and by which fisherman. This unique business creates a transparent relationship between the fishermen harvesting the fish and the public consumers.
Salty Girl Seafood Inc. strives to provide “Sustainable, Fresh, and Simple” seafood to its customers. And they believe cooking should be easy! Initially, Salty Girl Seafood started out by providing quality, traceable fish to chefs at restaurants. But recently, the company expanded to grocery stores and online retailers. Each package is pre-portioned and pre-marinated, with full cooking instructions, and details about the particular species, harvest method, fishing vessel, and sustainability of the fisheries. Items include black cod with sweet and smoky teriyaki and rockfish with a garlic chili rub. And each pre-packaged filet retails around $9.99.
Currently, these filet packages are only sold in about a dozen stores in California, but they are expanding to a few medium sized chains in the next few weeks, said Eddy. “We are also in talks with a few retailers outside of California, and have several European companies excited to distribute our products as well!” If you aren’t able to purchase these filets in store, you can easily order a couple of smoked fish items online and have them shipped directly to your door.
Want to know even more about where your fish comes from? Head over to the Salty Girl Seafood Inc. website to a plethora of information on who exactly caught your fish and their fishing history, what type of vessel and sustainable practices captured your fish, and details about the specific type of fish you are consuming.
This unique entrepreneurship is gaining popularity and making a name for the company in the sustainable fisheries world. Recently, Salty Girl Seafood Inc. received the Strongest Market Opportunity award at the Fish 2.0 International Seafood Competition Finals, a business competition that connects sustainable fisheries to investors. Out of 170 companies that participated in the competition, Salty Girl Seafood was one of the six companies that received top scores in all the judging categories. “Our team worked really hard to prepare for the competition, and we are honored to be recognized, internationally, by the industry,” said Eddy.
What’s next for Salty Girl Seafood? “Next up is growth! Always growth,” exclaims Eddy. “We are looking to really expand here in California, and gearing up towards a national rollout in the near future.” So before you order that sushi roll, or pick out your favorite fish at the market, think about the traceability and sustainability of the seafood itself. Or leave all the work to Salty Girl Seafood Inc. and pick up one of their tasty fillets!
By Kristin Foss