Platinum Fisheries is a seafood company built on the ethos of ethical and sustainable production practices.
Anglophone and Lusophone Africa
Traditional fishing cannot address Nigeria’s food insecurity
Nigerians love seafood, and while fish is an important food source for many of the country’s 216 million (source: UNFPA) citizens , overfishing is a serious problem. Dwindling fish populations also face threats from warming ocean waters and pollution.
At the same time, poverty, conflict, internal displacement, and an increasing human population all contribute to pervasive food insecurity. The 2022 Global Hunger Index (GHI) ranks Nigeria 103 out of 121 countries with a hunger level rated as “serious.” Imports now supply a majority of the country’s seafood.
Dupe Killa-Kafidipe, founder and CEO of Platinum Fisheries, comes from a long line of Nigerian fishing communities and appreciates the role of fish in the country’s culture and as a protein source. However, she says, “I've seen the degradation to sea life and the devastation to the environment. There is a huge gap between what we need and what is available, even with imports.”
Her sensitivity to the environment began in childhood. Traveling with her father as a young girl, she experienced physical pain when she observed cut logs on a truck. She asked her dad how old he thought the trees had been. “When he told me they could be up to a thousand years old, I just felt this is wrong.”
Dupe became a rights and protection activist and spent three years helping young people and women emerge from illiteracy and poverty in a conflict area of the country. She discovered the value of not simply giving people money but equipping them with education and vocational training, an idea expressed by the fishing-related adage: “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”
My passion for conservation, sustainability, and efficiency in operations came together. This is no longer going to be just about fish farming. All organizations must think like this in the future. If we're going to scale, we must do it responsibly.
Tech-driven fish farming can have deep and positive environmental impact
In 2016, Dupe founded Platinum Fisheries to address both Nigeria’s food insecurity challenges and the impact of traditional wild fishing on fish populations. The ethical seafood production and distribution company supplies fish and other seafood products to more than three million households from its two-hectare farm on the outskirts of Lagos. In addition to producing fish for wholesale, Platinum Fisheries sells organically produced fingerlings and feed meal to other fish farms.
Beyond supplying seafood, the Platinum Fisheries mission includes helping transition fishermen to fish farming in an environmentally sound way with training and mentoring. “If we're going to farm fish, we better do it correctly,” Dupe says. Usually, when fish farms scale to meet higher demand, they wreak environmental havoc. The company is developing a tech-driven system to enable greater production with minimal resource use by controlling elements such as water temperature, salinity, and waste collection.
Platinum Fisheries is about farming healthy seafood with ethical operations sufficient for a very large population in a country where there is deep food insecurity.
Sustainability benefits both people and the environment
Platinum Fisheries’ training has helped 65 fishermen transition to sustainable farming, and the goal is to reach 500 within the coming year. Longer term, Dupe sees herself in an ideal position to bring the Platinum Fisheries ethos beyond the seafood industry. She never forgets the human need that motivates her work. “We have the responsibility to provide food for our increasing population,” she says. “We have the duty to provide for the future that we won't be part of, to lay the foundations for future generations. We don't have to leave them a disaster to live in.”
The efficiency of the tech-driven system will reduce cost and resources. We have an opportunity to show that enterprises can operate ethically and sustainably at scale with the use of technology.