Hexafly is an Irish firm that makes fish food from insect protein. The problem they are trying to solve is huge but so is the business potential.
Hexafly, a biotech startup based in Ashbourne, Co. Meath has taken advantage of recent amendments to EU legislation, which permits the use of insect meal as a feed for aquaculture. Buoyed by this change, Hexafly has developed advanced insect-farming technology as an alternative to fishmeal and soy-derived protein, which from an EU view is neither sustainable nor environmentally responsible, in the long term.
Our oceans are tapped out, the global population is exploding, and aquaculture production has now surpassed the output from the world’s natural fisheries. Fishmeal is also a limited natural resource with global demand far exceeding supply. CEO, Alvan Hunt outlines Hexafly’s innovative blue economy thinking – and their plans to expand the business beyond these shores.
“Using insect feed means you can reduce the dependency on fishmeal and in turn reduce over-fishing.”
My co-founder John Lynam and I had been friends in college and in our final year began researching different business ideas. John has a background in chemistry, and my experience is in business and finance. I would consider myself and my co-founder as futurists – that’s just the way we think. Huge problems require you to think differently, basically requiring paradigm shifts in modes of thinking.
“If you delve a little deeper into it, the whole food security system is a lot more fragile than it looks.”
Fishmeal and soya limitations – a problem to solve
Sourcing fishmeal means going to the ocean; catching and processing fish, selling the fish by-product to a feed company who manufacture it back into a pellet, for fish in the fish farm. Significantly from a sustainability perspective, it takes twice as much wild-caught fish, to produce the same quantity