Can sea squirts, polychaete worms and algae become delicacies of the future? Although they may not sound very appetising, the sea contains many untapped resources that work great as food for people. Scary Seafood, a newly established project, hopes to inspire us to eat new marine species that are not made use of and consumed today.
At a workshop at the Tjärnö marine research station in mid-April, fishermen, growers and representatives of the restaurant and tourism industries gathered to learn more and sample some of these unexplored ingredients. Much of what we eat is governed by traditions and expectations. In times of over-fishing and increasing demand for seafood, there are reasons to rethink what we can actually eat.
“It’s also about rediscovering foods that were eaten here before”, says Christin Appelqvist, a researcher in marine biology at the University of Gothenburg and project manager.
The Scary Seafood project, which is run by the University of Gothenburg and Maritma, the maritime cluster in West Sweden, is conducting a study of both conceivable and inconceivable species from the sea from a sustainability perspective. The goal is to describe the current state of knowledge about the species and shed light on the obstacles or opportunities for getting the product from the ocean to the plate. The project also wants to stimulate entrepreneurship and the creation of new businesses. Spectacular and unusual food can also stimulate travel and lead to the development of experiential tourism.
Sofia B. Olsson, who is head chef at vRÅ restaurant in Gothenburg, was one of the participants in the workshop. She’s very interested in finding new sustainable species to serve because it is often difficult to vary the menu if the requirement is that the ingredients come from sustainable stocks.
“There are several different prawns, crabs and octopuses that I would like to test. Sea cucumbers are also interesting.”