The Fish Story

Black Soldier Flies Could Make Us Insectivores; The Time Everyday ‘Fish’ Sold for $1,020,000

By JAY MANN | Dec 19, 2018

DON’T BUG ME: I’m a proud pescatarian, going on 50 years now. That technically means I rely on fish as my prime protein. By proper and permissible extension, I can also savor seafood of many a sort since there is no such thing as a seafoodatarian. Naturally, my diet strictly excludes meat, poultry and, uh, snails, which fall somewhere in between, somewhere unpleasant.

As might be expected, a prim and proper pescetarian diet will seemingly exclude insects of any ilk. Or will it?

I have to note early on, that my reliance on seafood makes me a thankful fan of commercial fishing. Oh, I hear ya: “Why not catch your own sustenance in a live-off-the-sea vein?” Sir, I’ve tried same, no end … and to no livable avail.

I’m also growingly highly beholden to aquaculture, which now rocks when it comes to farming quite-tasty shrimp and salmon, along with that stuff called tilapia. My devotion to most aquaculture is growing as quickly as said seafood is being raised in pens, ponds and, now, in open ocean waters. However, a recent report from the aquaculture realm has me reeling – and experiencing waves of pre-nausea. I’ll explain.

I came across a very recent technical paper titled “An open system for farming black soldier fly larvae as a source of proteins for smallscale poultry and fish production,” published at You can see where this is distastefully going, right?

The report’s synopsis reads, “The utilisation of insect as ingredients for animal feeds has gained considerable interest recently. For example, the potential of black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae as a cheap alternative protein source for animal feeds seems to show promising perspectives, especially for … aquaculture feeds.”

Surely they can’t be talking about my daily-dined-upon aquaculture foodstuff.

Doing an emergency background check on the entire fly-based seafood-fattening method, I came across one of the main companies ready to fly with insect meal for seafood farmers. It’s called InnovaFeed, out of France, but already planning insect plants around Europe … and the world.

Clément Ray, co-founder and president of InnovaFeed, told, “Currently, farmed fish eat plant proteins and fish proteins that come mainly from fisheries in South America and Africa: and wild fish are fished for to be transformed into feed. Our product has the ability to replace this. We can therefore support the development of quality aquaculture with low environmental impact.”

The website for further explains, “Wild fish meal is becoming less and less available because of decreasing wild fish populations worldwide and soy meal has limited nutritional value as fish feed. Innova Feed’s innovative insect rearing process is deployed on an industrial scale to address the strain on natural resources in a responsible and sustainable way.”

Another frontrunner in fly-feed is Protix in the Netherlands. That company announces, “Salmon, which are notoriously picky, liked the food made from the black soldier flies better than the other alternatives.”

Most telling is the fiscal future of insect feed. Based on Reuters/MRC Statistics, lists the aquafeed market’s worth at over $114 billion in 2017, predicting it will top $290 billion by 2026. As of this month, French folks have begun dining on InnovaFeed-fed trout.

How does a clean-living seafood eater like myself tell fellow members of my pescatarian support group that I might also become a tad insectivorous? As the room discreetly tries to check my teeth for residual bug wings.

So, when must we worry about coming across a fragment of fly larvae while contentedly chewing a juicy piece of Atlantic salmon? I’m guessing by next year. And, yes, I’m fully aware that the black fly grinding process makes powder out of the larvae. Still, just the thought of a couple fly body parts sneaking through the purification system …

It should be duly noted that many a highly-edible fish species sucks down many a bug. Still, that’s nothing like a farmed fish being fattened on literally pounds and pounds of insect larvae meal, enough bugginess to make an anteater heave. Of course, I can already hear French epicureans openly pondering the subtle but distinctive earthy flavor of black soldier fly essence exuding from farm-bred escargot. Not me. Gimme fish-meal flavor or nothing.

How will you know if your salmon has been fattened on bugs? Ya got me. The last I checked there is no “ingredients” listing on fish fillets. Since I’ve never been big on the concept of ignorance being bliss, I optimistically envision a little “Non Bug-Fattened” sign stuck in the crushed ice near seafood I’m about to buy.

I COULDA SOLD “20”: You’ve dreamed of immense winnings gleaned by guessing a lengthy string of winning lottery numbers. But can you remotely imagine making millions on, say, just the number “20”? Well, the simple everyday number “20” recently garnered $1,750,000 profit when it was sold as a domain name in a dot-com sale. Then, it was quickly outpointed by a seemingly innocuous number, “37,” which auctioned for $1,960,800. All but given away at another sale was the seemingly highly-popular number “100,” which gaveled down at a paltry $950,000.

According to a list of the 250 costliest domain names, as tabulated by the folks at, none of those numbers could hold a dot-com candle to the number “360,” which marketed for $17 million. If that doesn’t make you do a complete 360, nothing will.

No, this is not one of my flights of dot-imagination. It’s the emerging tale of something called premium domain names, many of which were first registered in the Wild West days of the internet. Bought early on for next to nothing, many are back on the market for resale. Wikipedia, which offers its own list of world’s most expensive domain names, explains, “This is a list of some of the highest prices paid for domain names. The list is limited to domains that sold for $3 million or more.” More on some of Wiki’s A-listers in a minute.

(I can’t type out the full .com name of these domains or they’d become active within our online edition, at

I first came across the insane riches associated with reselling domain names while looking into the word “fish” as a dot-com. I first thought it was a joke when I read “fish,” as a domain name, sold for $1,020,000 in 2000! How much is that per pound!? There’s no guessing what it might be worth nowadays since domain names appreciate in worth over time, like a fine “wine” – a domain word that sold for $3,300,000. By comparison, the most valuable bottle of Chateau Lafite (1869) ever sold went for a meager $230,000. No surprise to ale adherents, “wine” became Ripple-like when “beer,” as a dot-com, was guzzled up for $7 million. Relatedly, “vodka” garnered $3m, likely in rubles. “Drugs” scored $830,000; – unknown street value.

After “fish,” I rushed to check on the word “guns,” hoping to grab it cheap … and sell it “fish” high. Yeah, right. Presale, “guns” as a domain name was appraised at $250,000 … and sold for $800,000. Just shoot me now.

To think, back in the 1990s, we knew words like “fish” and “guns” as well as the next guy. We just never thought to register those suckers as dot-coms. Of course, we simultaneously failed to buy penny shares in budding little companies like Microsoft and Apple. Don’t try to tell me I’m the only one who thinks about those dropped stock balls.

Looking over some of the biggest dot-com sales known to date, one hit me as sardonically chuckle-worthy. It is possibly one of the greatest get-evens ever. Get this: The Internal Revenue Service had to shell out $12.5 million to buy its very own dot-com initials! Yep, someone sold “IRS” to the IRS. To be sure, that seller had better avoid making so much as a typographical error on yearly tax returns.

An out-there competition-of-sorts comes out of the Holy Land. Among the most expensive domains are “Jerusalem,” sold for $510,000 but bowing to “Israel,” which went for a diamond-esque $5.88 million.

Yes, I’m getting to the dot-com crème de la crème.

Wiki lists the most money ever paid for a domain name as “CarInsurance,” at $49.7 million. The website lists “LasVegas” as king, selling for $90 million – and that’s only for exclusive domain name rights until 2040.

Why would anybody in right or un-right mind pay such amounts for exclusive internet domain name rights? According to, “A simple domain name gives your online business an instant brand. Premium domain names are generally easy to remember, easy to type and instantly associated with a product or service. … The domain itself creates an instant online brand that continues to define your online business for as long as you have it.

“The more basic and easily associated your domain name is with the product or service potential customers are searching for the more likely it is that you’ll rank high in the search results.”

With 80 percent of U.S. adults online, purchases come down to traffic, as in precious website hits by the gazillions.

“So the bottom line is: what may seem like an extraordinary expense on first glance is actually not so outlandish considering the benefits you could reap from the right domain name,” explains

RUNDOWN: The window is slamming shut on fishing 2018. I took so few stripers this fall that you can count them on one hand – and have unused fingers left over.

While we still have a small window of opportunity for schoolie bass, nothing can salvage my season, especially when factoring in a genuinely serious shoulder injury seemingly caused by – or exacerbated by – plugging to high heavens. The most I can say toward the upside is it’s a fall fishing year I won’t soon forget, crapper-wise. Of course, this column has spoken of piss-poor surfcasting for weeks on end, so this final toll of the bogus-bell should come as no last-issue surprise. My next column will be in here come Jan. 9.

This is like beating a dead seahorse, but the beachside bassing was so awful this fall that even the most unimaginative of anglers have devised outlandish theories on why our surf was pretty much striperless. I’m now even listening to possible extraterrestrial influences. Despite tangible and data-driven weigh-in proof that the beach bassing began going bad long before Sandy and beach replenishment, those two foul influences continue to top the blame regarding the bass AWOLness. Even I’m hesitant to align with those blaming covert government testing of emerging anti-fish weaponry. Hey, you piss off fishermen and there’s no telling where their minds might drift as they stand on the beaches biteless.

As things wind down calendar-wise, I’m sticking with the more complex long-term cause as being a diminishing of nearshore forage right along the LBI beachline. Admittedly, the ongoing sanding-under of jetties and building out of beachlines is adding to the problem by removing structure for migrating forage fish, while also putting a hurting on any remaining crabs. But I stand firm that there was a larger overall problem even before the sand started flying.

As to where bassing from LBI beaches goes from here, that’s best left to the hearts and minds of tirelessly dedicated Island anglers. Maybe they’ll go all “Annie,” with her incessant “sun” and “tomorrow” rhetoric – or maybe it’ll be a Vivien Leighish “Tomorrow’s another day” angle.

For me, hope bubbles up not from tomorrow, but from this coming spring. Our springtimes have been doling out the best bassing and bluefishing days of the year. So, there’s that tomorrowing to be done. There’s also some striper uppedness in the fact “rockfish” reproduction in the Chesapeake region has been close to exceptional. Young-of-year striper counts have been well above average. In fact, I’ll go metallurgically upbeat by suggesting striper stocks are good as gold. May the gold rush come our way.

SEE YA IN 2019: I’m embarking on my lone annual vacation. The SandPaper now shuts down for a couple weeks. Next issue will show on Jan. 9.

During my breakage, I’ll be checking my emails. Any cool nature/fishing items or breaking news/issues are always welcome at

I’m hoping to spend a goodly chunk of my semi-off time tracking (non-lethal tracking) and catching up on carving and artwork. Those activities often come with videos and photos, which I’ll be placing on my somewhat-daily

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