Danish start-up challenge makes the fishing industry local again
In The News
20 Dec 2019
The Danish start-up company Blue Lobster challenges the industrialized fishing industry by changing the supply chain, premiering a local and sustainable approach to how fish is caught, sold, bought and consumed. Through their app, they connect local fishermen with local restaurants, providing consumers with fresh, locally sourced produce every day.
As a child, Christine Hebert used to go down to the local fish market by the harbor in the little fishing village in Maine, USA, where she spent many summers growing up. She loved watching what the fishermen brought in from the sea. If she was lucky, she got to see the very rare blue lobster, a traditional sign of good fortune by the region’s fishermen.
When she grew up and moved to Denmark, she started a company along with her friend Nima Tisdall. The company’s idea is to support small scale fishing, and Blue Lobster was the obvious choice when naming the company.
“Christine had lived by the ocean and seen small-scale fishing companies having a hard time competing against the big fishing industry. She came up with this brilliant idea to use digitalization to support small scale sustainable fishing”, says Nima Tisdall.
Connecting local fishermen and restaurants
Now the two run the innovative company Blue Lobster, Nima as CEO and Christina as CPO. The company’s idea is to connect fishermen and restaurants. When the fishermen are on their way back to shore, they register their catch in the Blue Lobster app. Local restaurants can then enter the app and book the fresh fish or seafood that is soon to arrive in the harbor. The fish is taken to the restaurants by Blue Lobster’s driver.
“We focus on small-scale fishing. The big companies are not our customers. In that way, we can ensure restaurants that the fish is caught in a sustainable way”
says Nima Tisdall.
The concept has been proven to be quite on demand, as it is popular for restaurants to offer fish caught the same day.
“Most restaurants appreciate our service very much. They can now serve traceable, sustainably and locally caught fish straight from the ocean, not more expensive than fish without our traceability”, says Nima Tisdall.
All boats that work with Blue Lobster are equipped with gear that doesn’t hurt the marine ecosystem. The boats also release less carbon dioxide in comparison with the large-scale fishing industry.
Recently, Blue Lobster was chosen within the top 16 out of 2,600 start-ups in the EIT Climate-KIC ClimateLaunchpad, the world’s largest green business idea competition. This led to a place in the Climate-KIC Accelerator Stage 1, a mentorship program where the start-up gets €10,000 in funding and mentorship support to leverage their business.
– Funding is of course always appreciated, but what we are most happy about is the access to the right people with the experience and competence that we need to be able take the next step, says Nima Tisdall.
– We believe Blue Lobster represent an important innovation in the fish market, with clear benefits of connecting consumers and fishermen in re-building local and sustainable markets along costal areas. It is a local solution that we would like to see scale globally supporting the livelihood of a smaller and the more sustainable fishing industry, says Mikkel Trym, Lead of EIT Climate-KIC Entrepreneurship.
The next step is to expand to Norway. Today, Blue Lobster’s services are only available in Copenhagen, but next year in 2020, they will connect local fishermen with local restaurants also in Bergen, Norway. After that, the world awaits.
– We are having discussions with fishermen in the Global South and we have plans on how to give them a chance to make a better profit from their work. In their waters big international fishing companies are taking out so much fish not leaving enough to the locals, and we hope to be a part of changing that, says Nima Tisdall.
Their goal is to contribute to local, small-scale, sustainable fishing all over the world. What lies ahead is to work out a business model and reshape the app for the platform to work internationally. Hard work lies ahead, but then again, who wouldn’t prefer sustainable, fresh and locally caught fish on their dinner table?