Lionfish leather eyed as solution to invasive species

May 30, 2022 |

In Florida, a materials startup is killing two birds with one stone by turning invasive fish species lionfish into a sustainable alternative to cow leather. 

Dubbed INVERSA, founders Aarav Chavda and Roland Salantino and CMO Deepika Nagarajan say the luxury-quality leather alternative actually restores ocean biodiversity because lionfish are a harmful species with no natural predators in certain waters. “[Lionfish] efficiently kill up to 79% of young marine life within five weeks of entering a coral reef system,” INVERSA tells Fashnerd. “Thus, in killing the fish that eat the algae from the coral reefs, the reefs are left overgrown with algae and eventually die. The net result is the degradation of entire coral reef systems due to the invasive lionfish.”

The company estimates that each lionfish hide saves up to 70,000 native reef fish. INVERSA currently uses Chrome III tanning process but is working to switch to an entirely biobased process within a year. 

“We have worked with Teton Leather Company a custom leather manufacturer specialized in high-end exotic goods,” INVERSA says. “Our partnership with Teton Leather Co has marked the brand’s innovation and exploration into creating eco-positive art. Teton has launched various products using INVERSA Leather, including wallets, clutches, watch straps and more.”

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Category: Chemicals & Materials

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