How about vegan shrimp that saves the oceans instead of depleting them?

Together, overfishing and the climate crisis are fueling the collapse of aquatic ecosystems. Last month, the Alaskan snow crab fishing season was canceled for the first time ever due to a sharp decline in the Alaskan snow crab population caused ultimately by overfishing and, to a much greater extent, extent, due to the climate crisis caused by human activity.

Fortunately, vegan seafood companies are creating solutions to meet humanity’s demand for seafood without further harming aquatic ecosystems, while also boosting sustainability efforts. And ISH, a plant-based seafood company launched in 2020, is helping lead the charge.

Vegan shrimp for the planet and human health

Founded by entrepreneur and environmental sustainability expert Bernard David, ISH uses a whole systems approach to create its flagship product, Shrimpish. For ISH CEO David, a whole systems approach ensures that the brand’s plant-based seafood is good for the planet, animals and human health.


Shrimpish boasts 300 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per serving and a flavor, mouthfeel and “snap” reminiscent of conventional shrimp. ISH, which stands for Innovative, Sustainable, and Healthy, relies on green coconut, konjac, and soy protein to create vegan shrimp. Each of these ingredients was carefully selected to ensure that the final iteration of Shrimpish is not only delicious, but also provides nutritional value without causing harm to the planet.

In selecting the ingredients for its products, ISH uses science and data to assign each of its potential ingredients a health value. Similar to a traffic light, the ingredients are classified into red, green, and yellow.

Ingredients are classified in the red category when they do not meet ISH standards for planetary health and human consumption; these “red” ingredients never make it into the company’s products. Methylcellulose (a binding agent and intestinal irritant), titanium dioxide (a metal commonly found in plants and animals considered an unsafe food additive by the European Food Safety Authority), palm oil, and artificial colors and flavors they have been classified as red by the company.


Instead, ISH uses nutritious “green” ingredients and a select few “yellow” ingredients; These “yellow” ingredients are not harmful to human health, but they are also not nutritious. Glycerin, sea salt, and natural flavors are considered yellow by the brand.

“ISH’s ‘Whole System’ approach looks at every detail, from development to production and consumption, to ensure that all ingredients are in line with our mission to offer innovative, sustainable, healthy and delicious plant-based foods in every dish around the world,” David tells VegNews.

Shrimpish is currently available at select restaurants and universities. A retail launch with a host of new products, including Salmonish, Codish, Crabish, and Lobsterish, is planned for 2024.

Vegan seafood for everyone

Earlier this year, ISH partnered with global seafood giants Thai Union and Chicken of the Sea to help make plant-based seafood options more affordable.

“As a leading distributor of frozen shrimp and pasteurized crabmeat in North America, Chicken of the Sea is working with ISH to ensure alternative seafood options are available to new audiences at an affordable price,” says David.

The partnership is just one part of a larger commitment to Thai Union’s SeaChange platform, designed to foster alternative proteins in the seafood giant’s operations and supply chain. “Given ISH’s philosophy of putting the environment first, we are delighted to be working with Thai Union and Chicken of the Sea to help them achieve their sustainability goals,” says David.

For the ISH CEO, who also serves as chair of the Global CO2 Initiative and former adviser to the US Environmental Protection Agency, providing nutritionally beneficial vegan seafood that doesn’t harm the planet is personal. “After suffering a life-threatening heart attack, I decided to make changes to lead a healthier lifestyle,” he explains. “Given my deep passion and experience in sustainability efforts, I connected the dots between saving the earth and nutritious food, and created ISH.”

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The incorporation of plant-based diets and the rise of flexitarians has also primed the vegan seafood category for exponential growth, David notes. Together, overfishing and climate-induced biodiversity loss are driving demand for alternatives to seafood, and ISH is stepping up.

“The global plant-based food category is expected to reach $162 billion by 2030, with plant-based seafood being the smallest piece of the puzzle,” explains the CEO. “However, there is an opportunity for it to grow globally given the demand in the seafood market, but the supply is declining. We want to provide consumers with delicious shrimp and other seafood options without putting their health or the environment at risk.”

And ISH doesn’t stop there. The company partners with Kiva, a global non-profit organization, to provide microloans to small farmers who provide ingredients to the vegan seafood brand, ensuring the company is nutritious for everyone.

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