Farm-to-Table Seafood: Seatopia and Vertical Oceans Revolutionize the Sustainable Seafood Market

By Emily Vidovich. Emily has a background in environmental journalism and sustainability and is a member of the George Washington University Class of 2019.


Farm-to-table is a concept encouraging restaurants and individuals to purchase locally-grown ingredients. Across the world, delivery services have emerged that connect consumers and regional farmers. Just like visiting a farmers market, the benefits of farm-to-table are manifold—purchasing locally-grown foods is environmentally friendly, supports small businesses, and provides access to fresh, delicious food.


Traditionally, farm-to-table initiatives have focused on fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy, and meat. Seafood has been left out of ‘buy local’ initiatives, as seafood is generally associated with catching fish from the ocean. Aquaculture—or farming fish— provides an alternative to the current overfishing of wild fish stocks, but only when it avoids the negative environmental impacts associated with the aquaculture industry. Two of AltaSea’s sustainable aquaculture partners, Seatopia and Vertical Oceans, are in the business of bringing earth-friendly, farm-grown seafood to the farm-to-table market. 

Seatopia sources seafood favorites including salmon, sea bass, yellow tail, trout, scallops, and shrimp from regenerative farms worldwide, and then delivers them frozen to customers’ doorsteps. The company describes its sourcing strategy as focusing on, “species that are a great fit for sustainable farming,” and selecting regulated, small-business partners that prioritize “quality over quantity” and operate free of antibiotics and GMOs.


Seatopia emphasizes that its farming methods evade the health and environmental drawbacks of both wild caught fish and traditional aquaculture. Its fish are mercury-free, raised without antibiotics, raised on algae, delivered in compostable packaging, and safe to eat raw. Its Michelin-star quality fish have been featured in Forbes, and are available for delivery across the United States.

Singapore-based start-up Vertical Oceans is on a similar mission to deliver sustainable seafood directly to consumers. Its market focuses on a single species, King Prawns, and currently only operates in Singapore. Prawn aquaculture is notorious for negative environmental consequences, including habitat destruction and spreading disease to the ocean. Vertical Oceans aims to “set a new standard in aquaculture,” by designing farms that don’t pollute the water and feeding their prawns with only sustainable ingredients.


In the future, the company hopes to spread its sustainable aquaculture innovations by implementing a licensing arrangement in which it can install one of its sustainable recirculating aquaculture systems at partner businesses and train employees on how to operate it. 


Both of these companies prove that there is both consumer and investor interest in sustainable aquaculture. Vertical Oceans raised $3.5 million in its seed round. Seatopia also received major investment in 2023 to help expand its retail presence. This signifies market recognition of aquaculture’s growing role in the world’s $338 billion seafood market. While levels of wild-caught fish have remained relatively stable since 1980, aquaculture levels have risen continuously, with a projected growth rate of 14 percent between 2020 and 2030. It also underscores increased prioritization, by both producers and consumers, of sustainably-sourced food. Seatopia and Vertical Oceans are emblematic of the bright future realized by the sustainable blue economy, proving that it is possible for ocean-based businesses to simultaneously have market success, feed the global population, and protect the oceans.


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