The Aquaculturists: Amy Novogratz and Mike Velings, managing partners of Aqua-Spark
Tell me about yourselves and how you arrived in aquaculture
Amy: Mike and I met through the 2010 TED Prize Mission Blue Voyage to the Galapagos, led by celebrated oceanographer, explorer and author Sylvia Earle. The voyage convened a hundred scientists, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, and artists with the purpose of addressing how we could protect the ocean. We came away hugely impacted, and ultimately this was the impetus for Aqua-Spark. On a boat with the world’s foremost ocean and fish experts, it was impossible not to get sucked into the enormity of the challenge – from overfishing to the terrifying fact that our oceans could become virtual deserts in less than 35 years.
Months after the voyage, at a Conservation International Meeting, we heard Dr Stephen Hall of WorldFish give a talk on aquaculture and its potential as a solution for these problems. The conservationists all agreed that we’d need to work together to get this right and do it sustainably. We started a two-year period of learning, researching, building a network of experts, and figuring out the right role for us to play in the expansion of the industry. This past November, we officially launched Aqua-Spark.