About the project

Our Approach
We’ve coupled an entrepreneurial approach to inventing environmental solutions with design thinking, a problem-solving methodology that is rigorous, iterative, collaborative, and informed by human observation. We use a team of entrepreneurs, anthropologists, design strategists, scientific researchers, and writers to mine the myriad transactions and motivations that comprise the complex system defining how fish go from the water to the plate. Those insights drive an initiative to invent and incubate new approaches to the challenge.

This project began with a habit: the program officer working on marine fisheries issues at Packard routinely changes the default homepage in her browser to look for new ideas and new partners. She stumbled across Changemakers, an Ashoka program that discovers new innovators addresing social and environmental issues. She picked up the phone, and that chat led to this collaboration.

We hope your visit to this site is similarly inspiring.

Fish are in serious trouble. Environmental decline, over-fishing, and inept fisheries management have led experts to conclude that within 30 to 40 years many wild fish species will be extinct if we don’t change the way we fish and consume. The decimation of fish will have catastrophic effects on the billions of people who rely on fish for livelihood and sustenance, as well as the fragile marine ecosystem. Already, 80 percent of the world’s marine stocks are overexploited or at their catch limits.

The Future of Fish project—a unique partnership between Ashoka, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and Central, a design strategy firm—takes a new approach in exploring the challenges facing the seafood industry to encourage sustainable methods of fishing that respect species harvest limits, preserve the marine environment, and reduce bycatch.

Specifically, our project investigates the vital links between fishermen, processors, distributors, retailers, chefs, and consumers in an effort to map new ways for disparate industry stakeholders to collaborate on groundbreaking solutions to a set of complex problems. These stakeholders include businesses, foundations, scientists, non-profit organizations, and entrepreneurs.