Down to Earth


Nick Mendoza grew up in a cattle ranching family in New Mexico, but when he moved to San Diego he fell in love with the ocean and got hooked on fish and marine science. Taking the lessons from regenerative cattle production to the oceans, he studied Environmental and Marine Resources at Stanford University, and earned a graduate degree in graduate degree in Sustainable Aquaculture. But eventually he veered away from a career in science when he realized that he could make more of a difference by actually doing science-informed fish production. He founded Neptune Snacks, which produces four types of fish jerky––with more products on the way. Balancing transparency, science, health, sustainability, and flavor, he’s part of a new generation of entrepreneurs working to transform the food system from the inside. He’s also chairman of the the Quivira Coalition Board of Directors.

2’53 roots in New Mexico cattle ranching
5’02 issues surrounding fish feed for aquaculture
6’02.2045 seafood in the US currently can rarely be traced to its source
6’41 so much of the fish we catch in the US is exported, processed, and re-imported
8’07 most of the rest of the world values sustainable seafood more than people in the US do
10’29 what is Neptune Snacks
12’07 the fish we eat tends to be high on the food chain
13’20 it’s more ecologically sound to eat lower on the food chain for seafood
14’17 how Nick came to start the company
14’43 practicing and promoting sustainability and addressing waste in seafood were major drivers for starting the company
15’49 frozen fish is actually better and fresher than “fresh” fish
16’34 realization that there was a market niche for fish jerky
21’08 how they chose the species they use in the jerky
21’48 the conservation success story of rockfish
23’35 Alaskan pollock with low carbon footprint–half that of tofu and and 1/5 of a beyond burger
26’39 many marine organisms can reproduce exponentially, which helps with recovery
28’03 what makes for a healthy fishery ecosystem
29’06 the importance of science at the source
31’09 the importance of traceability
32’08 fraud in mislabeling seafood
34’40 pollution and unsustainable harvesting practices–addressing this through certification
38’06 elements of the carbon footprint
38’46 sable cod is delicious, various fish varieties that people can discover
42’24 the health benefits of seafood
43’37 vision of seafood for building a better food system