Inversa is an eco-leather company set up by three divers who wanted to protect the areas they dived in from invasive species. One of the founders, Aarav Chavda, had noticed that there was a significant decrease in the numbers of colourful fish each time he went diving. He soon realised that this was the result of the introduction of lionfish to the ecosystems he was diving into.
Lionfish naturally live in the waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, but in the last few years they have been slowly introduced to the Atlantic Ocean. These fish can now be found from Florida down to the Caribbean. As they are not native to these waters, they do not have a natural predator. Therefore, they have been allowed to thrive.
Within five weeks of joining a new coral reef ecosystem, lionfish can kill and consume up to 79% of the juvenile marine life. This can be catastrophic for the species of fish that are native to these areas, as their populations cannot grow.
Lionfish also have a damaging effect on the coral reefs themselves. Native fish will eat the algae that grow on the reefs, however as the lionfish deplete the number of fish in these areas, the more the algae grow, leading to the coral dying.
Therefore Aarav Chavda, along with two of his fellow divers, have come up with a solution that may curb the issue and save the coral reefs biodiversity. The company plans on using lionfish hides to produce leather. Through this they are hoping to control the number of lionfish in the area and reduce any damage they cause, saving around 70,000 native reef fish.
Fish leather is known to be pretty tough, and can be used to make shoes, bags, wallets and belts. The company have declared that producing leather from the lionfish will produce less greenhouse gas emissions than other forms of leather production. They also don’t require large amounts of land to pasture, and they don’t create soil pollution.
This new way of producing leather could be an amazing solution to lowering carbon emissions and to protecting a large proportion of the world’s ecosystems.