In an enterprising opportunity partnering with Conservation International (CI) Ventures and Hatch Blue, Aquaculture Stewardship Council gathered an all-female cohort in La Paz, Mexico to showcase their innovative ideas in promoting blue food communities and local food systems. 

Thirteen female-led companies were featured in the Women in Ocean Food Innovation Studio in January 2024. Participants presented and developed their business ideas in an intense two-week mentorship and networking programme. They were given support to build their business models, improve their pitching skills, validate the opportunities in their markets and grow their networks across the blue economy.Participants have been paired with industry leaders and introduced to dedicated venture philanthropists and impact investors. There is also the potential for companies to attract follow-on investment from Hatch and CI Ventures.

ASC Celebrates Women in Ocean Food Innovation Studio
ASC Celebrates Women in Ocean Food Innovation Studio

Speaking about her experience at the event, Wendy Banta, Head of Supply Chain Assurance at ASC said, “Engaging with driven, capable women who are transforming aquaculture and other ocean food industries was insightful and inspirational. ASC can help empower them to include environmental and social responsibility in their business models for sustainable growth and development by providing the knowledge, support and network to achieve responsible aquaculture.”

Wayne Murphy, Hatch Co-Founder and Partner, said, “It was truly a privilege to be part of such a globally unique event. Standing room only for an engaged audience which witnessed only female speakers – entrepreneurs, investors, industry and government representatives on stage. Increased inclusion and diversity in the Blue Economy are very vital to the future of the industry and exciting events like this showcasing amazing female talent and experience needs to be the rule rather than the exception going forward.”

From biotechnology, to genetics, to health and supply chain, the topics covered during the sessions were rich and diverse. Participants included Organización de Pescadores Rescatando la Ensenada (OPRE), an all-female oyster farming cooperative based in Mexico, which uses suspended sacks as their main cultivation method.

Tres Peces Pescadería works on Chile’s first mobile fishmonger which connects fishermen with market, while Chilean company AQUIT develops a preventive treatment for infections that replaces antibiotics, improves survival rates, and boosts natural immunity after only seven days of using it with feed.

Seaweed is also a focal point of interest among many innovators. Brazil-based Phycolabs uses seaweed to create textiles and materials as an alternative to petrochemical products. Community-based Belize Women’s Seaweed Farmers Association uses submerged farming techniques and actively supports its members in the development and marketing of value-added seaweed products through branding, microenterprises and collaborative initiatives. Mexico and Norway-based startup Thalasso builds container-based micro-biorefineries to extract high value ingredients and create products from Sargassum seaweed, which is negatively impacting coastlines around the world, to create beneficial and commercial products.

Diana Allerbon, Aquit’s CEO said, “It was a very unique programme with insightful information and amazing speakers and mentors. A tight collaboration spirit arose among all the teams, and the bonds that were built will surely help us all through this exciting but difficult process of growing a startup. Furthermore, it was a privilege to know about the background of ASC certification standards, systems and tools, critical to promote the reduction of antibiotic use in aquaculture, which is one of Aquit’s main goals.”


Aquaculture Stewardship Council is a silver partner at the Blue Food Innovation Summit. Hear from CEO Chris Ninnes in the session, “Aquafeed Innovation: Scaling Novel Solutions and Diversifying the Raw Materials Basket” on Tuesday, May 21 and meet the ASC team at their booth at the summit in London. See the full delegate programme here: