10 Ocean Stories from 2016 That Will Make You Cry, Laugh, or Fired Up for 2017

We are writing one last time in 2016 to thank you for supporting us over the last year and to wish you a happy new year! In 2017, we hope to bring the plant-based shrimp we have been working tirelessly on to a restaurant and/or grocery store near you! 

In the meantime, here are 10 of the ocean stories that most caught our eye in 2016. Some will make you cry. Some will make you laugh. And some will make you fired up for 2017. 

10. Scared seal hides on boat from killer whales (CNN)

With a pod of hungry orcas on its tail, a fortunate seal escaped the hunt by jumping aboard a tour boat off Vancouver Island. After circling the boat for several minutes waiting for the seal to come down and be their lunch, the killer whales grew tired of waiting and moved on. The seal then made sure the coast was clear and swam off, presumably to tell its friends of its incredible luck. 

9. Shrimp slaves wait for justice 8 months after Thai raid (Associated Press)

Several months after seeking assistance from the Thai government to free his pregnant wife from slavery in a shrimp-peeling shed, Tin Nyo Win and his wife remained in the government's custody, even as their former 'employers' were free on bail. 

This report came more than a year after the Associated Press broke its first story on slavery in the Southeast Asian fishing industry.

8. Climate Change May Make Shellfish (and Us) Sick (National Geographic)

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science shows that warming waters are responsible for increases in Vibrio, the bacteria behind that advice that you shouldn't eat oysters in a month that doesn't end in "r". While it is relatively unknown in the United States, Vibrio is more familiar in Europe, where it has plagued coastal cities. 

National Geographic claims that this trend is a "double danger": not only can Vibrio be fatally dangerous, but its increase signals that food sources are moving. 

7. A reel honor: Scientists name new fish after Obama (CNN)

As a thank you for creating a massive ocean reserve off the coast of Hawaii, scientists named a new fish in the area protected by the reserve after President Obama. 

6. Catfishes by a Catfish: 1 in 5 Seafood Samples Is Fake, Report Finds (New York Times)

1 in 5 fish sold is mislabeled, according to Oceana, which recently tested over 25,000 samples of seafood and relied on 200 studies in 55 countries. 58% of samples that were found to be fraudulent could potentially cause health issues.

Furthermore, Oceana found that not only is human health at risk because of this large-scale fraud. Endangered species of fish were found mislabeled as more prevalent fish. In Brazil, for example, the critically endangered large tooth sawfish was labeled as shark.

5. Great Barrier Reef Hit by Worst Coral Die-Off on Record, Scientists Say (New York Times)

In November, scientists said the Great Barrier Reef had suffered the worst coral die-off recorded. Roughly two-thirds of the shallow water coral on the northern stretch of the reef is dead due to warm waters.

4. Hawaii Is Now Home to an Ocean Reserve Twice the Size of Texas (National Geographic)

In August, President Obama created the world's largest protected area off the coast of his home state of Hawaii. The area is roughly 583,000 square feet, home to incredibly rich and diverse sea life, and now off-limits to commercial fishing. 

3. The World Is Running Out of Fish Faster Than We Thought (Vice)

The recorded number of fish caught globally over the last several decades has been significantly lower than the actual number, according to a team of Canadian scientists. 

Spending more than ten years on this research, consulting scientists from 273 countries and 4,000 unique publications, the team determined that global fish stocks have been diminishing even more rapidly than previously thought since the 1990s.

2. How Antibiotic-Tainted Seafood From China Ends Up on Your Table (Bloomberg)

What happens when elusive Chinese seafood companies are actively discouraged from exporting their dangerous seafood to the U.S. -- and still find stealthy and elaborate ways to do so? Bloomberg Businessweek examines this very question in last week's jaw-dropping cover story, "How Antibiotic-Tainted Seafood From China Ends Up on Your Table."

If the Associated Press"Seafood from Slaves" series was the most urgent food (and especially seafood) writing of 2015, this is the most essential food reporting of 2016. The Bloomberg cover story offers an appalling account of how reckless Chinese aquaculture is when it comes to creating superbugs that are more and more resistant to antibiotics.

Yet, as slavery and trafficking persisted in the Southeast Asian seafood industry a year after the AP broke its shocking story, the Bloomberg cover story underscores that problems that existed in the early 2000s continue to plague the seafood industry internationally today, and that efforts to fix these problems amount to whack-a-mole successes. 

1. Move Over Animal Shrimp, There's A New Plant-Based Shrimp Coming To Your Table (Forbes)

"New Wave Foods, a San Francisco biotech startup with backing from New Crop Capital and SOS Ventures via IndieBio, has engineered a shrimp product (a sustainable food) out of red algae and other plant-based ingredients that looks and tastes like animal shrimp.

Why seafood? Because Americans consume nearly five billion pounds of fish and shellfish each year. And shrimp, is the most consumed seafood by Americans."

Happy New Year! 
Dominique, Michelle, and Xander