Ÿnsect, a Paris-based company that farms insects for protein used in fish and pet food as well as fertilizer, announced today that it has raised a €110 million (~$124M USD) Series C round led by Astanor Ventures. This brings the total amount raised by Ÿnsect to $149.5 million.
The news comes via EU-Startups, which says that Ÿnsect will use the money to build the world’s biggest insect farm in Amiens Metropole, Northern France, which will eventually produce 20,000 tons of protein year.
When we talk about bug-based protein, we often talk about crickets, which are a source of easily renewable protein for baking flour or even workout supplements. Ÿnsect, however focuses on Molitor larvae, or mealworms.
One of the ways those mealworms will be put to use is as fish feed. Global demand for seafood has doubled in the past 50 years and continues to increase. Currently, roughly half of the seafood eaten worldwide comes from farmed fish, and that number is expected to hit 62 percent by 2030.
However, the food currently used to raise those farmed fish is… other fish in the form of fishmeal. A 2017 study from the University of British Columbia found that 90 percent of that fishmeal (roughly 18 million tons) is suitable for human consumption. Replacing fishmeal with insect feed like that made by Ÿnsect could help ease the stress on fish stocks, especially when combined with computer vision tech like Aquabyte’s to reduce overfeeding.
These efforts could in turn prolong our ability to savor salmon, at least until we’re able to make lab-grown fish.