A San Francisco startup plans to release plant-based imitations of shrimp and shark fin in 2016.
New Wave Foods' imitation shrimp, due to market early in the year, is made of plant-based proteins and non-toxic algae. The imitation shark fin is expected to follow in the summer.
Toxic algae blooms have been cited as the cause of the delay of the commercial Dungeness crab season in San Francisco, prompting broader concerns for the future of seafood health.
In July, a federal appeals court upheld California's ban on the possession, distribution and sale of real shark fin, which is considered a Chinese culinary delicacy.
The company has revealed that about 30 chefs have signed up to use the imitation shark fin when it becomes available, but one critic told KQED he worries the product could make actual shark fin "cool" again.
“This timing strikes me as incredibly poor,” said Andrew Harmon of environmental group WildAid. “The younger generation is really moving away from shark fin. The Chinese government has banned shark fin from official banquets."