Aquaculture is booming throughout the world and is increasingly being seen as a healthy and sustainable source of protein to feed a growing population.In 2012, farmed fish production overtook beef production, and the world now consumes more fish from farms than fish caught in the open sea. The problem with fish farming as it is currently practiced, however, is that the feed used on aquaculture farms is made from wild-caughtfish like anchovies and sardines. The process of catching these fish depletes already-overfished fisheries, ravages marine ecosystems, and harms rural fishing communities. We're feeding wild fish to farmed fish and it doesn't make sense—environmentally or economically.
The same is true in Kenya, where farmed fish production nearly quintupled between 2009 and 2012. Despite this growth, the challenge persists of providing fish farmers access to reasonably priced, high-quality feed. The current solutions available to fish farmers in Kenya are either unaffordable, unsustainable, inadequate, or a combination of all three. One solution? Replace the fish protein with insect protein, and reduce food waste in the process. We're growing black soldier fly larvae, an incredible type of insect that consumes all sorts of organic material from spent grains from breweries to fruit and vegetable scraps from kitchens, markets, and farms. In addition, black soldier flies
- are not vectors for disease
- are native to Kenya
- result in no change to fish taste
- require very little land and water to raise
We partner with farms and businesses to collect their waste, then turn it into a nutritious, high-protein insect meal ready to be incorporated into fish feed pellets.
Here at Kulisha, named after the Swahili verb meaning "to feed," we believe in closed loop economies that are not at odds with the wellbeing of people and the planet. We seek to address a significantly underserved market segment in the aquaculture industry, support economic development and growth in underdeveloped countries, and have a meaningful positive impact on the environment.
The inspiration for this project came from my own work in Msambweni, Kenya, a small fishing village on the coast. Though I'm from Nairobi, I spent four months living and working in Msambweni on increasing local support for a marine protected area. It was here that I learned that vessels were ravaging coral reefs in order to catch anchovies and sardines which are then taken inland, ground up into fishmeal, and fed to higher-value farmed fish—and thus the idea for Kulisha was born.