Today, about 1 billion people rely upon seafood as their primary source of protein. By 2050, nearly 2.5 billion people (or 25% of the global population) will rely upon seafood as a primary protein source. Further, seafood raised in aquaculture will surpass poultry and pork as the single largest source of protein for the global population by 2050. This has tremendous implications for food security and food sustainability worldwide, as aquaculture is the most sustainable protein source while also being one of the least biosecure.
VakSea has developeda proprietary method for manufacturing custom proteins in insect larvae. These proteins are more affordable than traditional alternatives and can be delivered to animals through feed. Our first area of focus is disease prevention in aquaculture, given the global importance of this protein source and its relative disease risk. We have used our insect larvae manufacturing system to make the first product to protect shrimp from specific, high-impact diseases. Our first product protects shrimp from White Spot Disease, a devastating viral disease that causes $3.5 billion in losses each year – primarily in South Asia and Southeast Asia – and kills nearly 100% of all infected shrimp, bankrupting thousands of shrimp farmers annually. When fed to young shrimp, our products kept 80% of them alive during a White Spot Disease outbreak, keeping the farm profitable and preventing tremendous losses to a vital source of food and income.
We intend to produce a line of protein-based products that can protect fish and shrimp from disease outbreaks, protecting aquaculture farmers from devastating losses and ensuring that their livestock get to market to feed the growing population. For these farmers, our products can save them from bankruptcy caused by disease outbreaks and provide them with financial stability. Further, our products are non-GMO and able to be sold across the world. This enables farmers to sell their fish and shrimp to the US and Europe in addition to their local markets, capturing higher prices that will help them to earn living wages for their work.
To date, the only disease prevention products on the market for shrimp are general immunostimulants that "boost" immunity but only have a small impact on disease mortality. Our products are unique because they can be delivered orally through feed and have been shown to yield over 80% survival during an outbreak. Our products are affordable enough to be used preventatively on fish and shrimp farms and provide an excellent return on investment for the farmers who use them.
Our key innovation is in the insect larvae system we have developed to produce immune-boosting proteins. We use the cabbage looper to produce large quantities of the desired immune-boosting particles by growing them inside the insects. We then harvest the insects, process them, and generate high-quality proteins that can be formulated into a feed or delivered directly to fish. Our insect larvae system is a platform that enables us to produce new, effective disease-prevention proteins more affordably than competitors.
Our products will help to usher in a new era of more sustainable, more profitable seafood aquaculture that enables farmers to scale production to meet the global demand without risking their livelihoods or the biosecurity of their farms.