This is the final installment in a series covering innovations in wildlife conservation. For the rest of the series, click here.
Would you wear clothes made out of crab shells? Or use a wallet made from salmon leather? They aren’t your typical materials, but new Alaskan start-up called Tidal Vision is working to make them a norm in the fashion industry.
The company is headed by Craig Kasberg, who hails from Juneau, Alaska. He spent his childhood aboard fishing vessels, and witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of overfishing. From his time on the water, Kasberg learned how much work, and waste, it takes to produce commercial hauls of seafood. This harsh realization is what drove his idea to up-cycle byproducts of fishing, and sustainably produce products that help both the environment and fishing companies.
For Tidal Vision, the idea of sustainable fishing means ensuring that no part of a catch goes to waste. Ensuring that a crab’s shell, or a fish’s scales, are put to good use means that no fishing byproducts are wasted.
“In Alaska alone, 2 billion pounds of fish and crab byproducts are ground up and dumped annually,” Kasberg explained in an email to Innovate Development. “Where others saw trash, we saw opportunity to make something remarkable and make a difference.”
Tidal Vision sources materials from processing companies that package seafood, and only deals with groups that are certified as sustainable. The processes is beneficial for both groups: Tidal Vision gains products, and the purchase of them helps drive the third company’s bottom line. Purchasing byproducts from certified companies is also important for Tidal Vision, and helps them ensure that they are being both economically and environmentally conscience.
“We believe that is important for ocean conservation to support the operations doing things the right way, harvesting sustainably,” Kasberg continued. “Sustainable fishing operations are the only ones that incur the costs of managing the populations of both target and bycatch species, don’t harvest during crucial breeding season, and don’t fishing methods that damage the oceans habitat even though they’re more effective.”
As of now, Tidal Vision is producing two main products: aquatic leather and Chitoskin (pronounced kyte-oh-san). They are made from byproducts of salmon and crab shells, respectively. All of the materials used to fabricate the materials are all-natural, which also helps maintain environmental sustainability.
None of the final products are for for sale yet. However, on May 27, 2015, they will officially launch through a Kickstarter campaign. The first products to be sold will be shirts made from Chitoskin, and wallets made from salmon leather.
“Kickstarter is the perfect platform to offer our products as we’re manufacturing them at full scale, for the first time,” said Kasberg. “It gives our backers the chance to be the first to get our ocean products, and for pre-ordering they will get a discount.”
The Kickstarter campaign will also help crowdsource additional funding so Tidal Vision can expand and offer more products on a larger scale. Kasberg explained that he has already been approached by various companies — such as footwear and furniture — that have heard about, and are interested in, Tidal Vision’s sustainable ocean products. The products made from salmon leather have proven to be more durable than cow’s leather; the products are also waterproof, and have no fishy smells.