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TikTok Aquaculture Star James Sibley Launches Phytabar, a Seaweed-Chocolate Fusion

James Silbey and Sebastian Sanchez,

In a unique twist to nutrition bars, seafood educator and online content creator James Sibley (@sibleyaqua - TikTok - "Omega-3 Enthusiast" and "The Aquaculture Guy), alongside his student friend, Sebastian Sanchez, (both shown left) have launched Phytabar, a unique product integrating the health benefits of wakame seaweed with the rich taste of dark chocolate.

Found extensively in the Pacific Ocean, wakame is not only a source of EPA/DHA omega-3s but also brimming with vital oceanic micronutrients, making Phytabar a powerhouse of both taste and nutrition.

Phytabar Seaweed and chocolate nutrition bar

Source: Phytabar

James Sibley, who has a background in aquaculture and microbiology, first envisioned Phytabar during his college days at the US's Northeastern University. After years of dedicated development involving nights, weekends, and numerous pitch competitions, the seaweed-chocolate bar is now a reality. "It’s been a marathon of effort and creativity," says James Sibley via

"Bringing Phytabar to market is a dream turned reality for us, and we’re eager to see it thrive."

Phytabar's innovation lies in its core ingredient, cultivated wakame. "Wakame farming represents a significant part of regenerative aquaculture, akin to kelp farms or rope-grown shellfish initiatives," Sibley explained to SeafoodSource. These farms not only replenish marine ecosystems but also create substantial employment opportunities for Pacific coastal communities.

Dried Wakame seaweed

Source: ID 315989607© Jiri Hera

With no affiliations to major companies, despite James Sibley's engagements with industry giant Mowi, Phytabar is a clear illustration of the potential of independent, sustainable ventures. Funded through grants from Northeastern University and grassroots fundraising efforts, the startup aims to make a mark by introducing consumers to the sustainable prospects of niche aquaculture via a nutrient rich 'food bar'.

Phytabar is a youthful symbol of innovation and sustainability, potentially setting a new standard for utilising aquatic resources. "We hope Phytabar will inspire the seafood industry and beyond to explore alternative uses of cultivated seaweed," James Sibley concluded.

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