Would You Wear Clothes Made From Fish By-Products?

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Morenike Adebayo

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202 Would You Wear Clothes Made From Fish By-Products?
Tidal Vision

It may not be every teenager's dream break from school, but 15-year-old Craig Kasberg has spent his summers on the commercial fishing boats of Southeast Alaska, farming salmon and halibut. Seeing 2 billion pounds of waste created annually by these fisheries, Kasberg thought something should be done to make the practice more sustainable.

Nine years later, Kasberg founded Tidal Vision, a company that hopes to manufacture fashionable clothes and products made from fish by-products to increase awareness of and to support sustainable fishing. This could change the face of the fishing industry as we know it. IFLScience spoke to the Alaskan-born captain to find out more.


“Sustainable fisheries manage the populations of target and bycatch species, don't harvest during crucial breeding seasons, and only use fishing methods that don't damage the ocean's habitat,” said Kasberg to IFLScience. “Fishing this way simply costs more. I wanted to create technology that could add value to the fishing operations doing things the right way, to promote and encourage ocean sustainability.”



Utilizing these by-products, Kasberg has worked with chemists and engineers to create Tidal Vision’s environmentally friendly materials: salmon leather and Chitoskin fabric made from Chitosan – a polymer of crab and shrimp shells, which is odorless and can be blended with any textile fiber.


The salmon leather is tanned over three weeks in a similar process to raw cowhide, removing the natural fish oils (which gives salmon its fishy smell) and replacing them with vegetable-based tanning oils. It is then evenly heat-pressed to give the distinctive scaly pattern a smooth, glossy finish.

Currently, Tidal Vision has plans for shirts and wallets but Kasberg is in talks with eco-friendly textile businesses for wider uses of his innovative fabrics. “We're getting requests from shoe and boot companies, guitar companies that want their cases to have a sustainable cow leather alternative, furniture companies, and more,” Kasberg said.

Through the Kickstarter campaign launched on May 27, Tidal Vision plans to eventually debut its products. Kickstarter backers will have access to and priority for discounted pre-orders.

As a personal project, Kasberg believes that it’s time people know where their food and products come from. The main drive for Tidal Vision is to promote “conscious consuming,” knowing where your food is from, how far it has travelled to get to your plate and how these factors can impact the industry and the environment.


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