The deep ocean is filled with exotic and probably-tasty delights. It is unexplored and so many species are undiscovered that we couldn’t possibly know what we are missing. Since you have probably not given much consideration to the pleasures of eating unusual monsters from the deep, permit me to introduce you to the world of deep ocean cuisine.
Of course, deep ocean cuisine is not without its risks, most notably the ever-present danger of being poisoned by an as-yet undiscovered venom. Poisoning by deep ocean cuisine is likely to be completely fatal due to the novelty of the venom and the impossibility of creating any antidote rapidly enough to save the victim. However, the risk will be worth it for some, and the new flavors will be theirs alone to enjoy.
An extra novelty unique to this cuisine would be the diner’s privilege of naming the newly discovered species. Of course, this would come at a premium above and beyond the price of the dining experience, which would doubtless be pretty expensive to begin with. After all, the purchase price of the meal needs to cover the cost of the research submarine that must discover and capture the meal in the first place.
The ocean is not merely populated by fish; there are sea snakes, too. In fact, there are lots of scaly creatures beyond fish and snakes. Consider the bacteria that thrive on the waste from volcanic vents along the bottom of the ocean. What do you suppose a bowl of that slop would taste like? Maybe the anaerobic microbes would like milk, and could transform it into some exotic yogurt or cheese? Maybe it eats eyeballs and should be left alone? Who knows what fates will befall the adventurer who tries it!
Each restaurant that wishes to seriously compete in the world of deep ocean cuisine will need its own submarine. There would be obvious advantages for computer vision approaches to the problem of identifying previously unobserved species. The submarine must max out on species novelty, so it will be important to never waste time capturing species that are in fact not undiscovered. Or, when a delicious and safe species is discovered, computer vision will assist in mining that species to extinction, which has been proven time and again to be a unique delight enjoyed by the ultra-rich, alone.
Obviously, the search for novel species will start an arms race in deep ocean cuisine. I predict strong competition from Russian, Japanese, and American restaurants. This sort of phenomenon requires not only technological prowess but also civilization-toppling hubris. The cuisine is typically paired with powerful, mind-altering substances that inflate the ego and fuel the narcissistic, selfie-friendly photographic feeding frenzy. To dine at a restaurant serving rare deep ocean cuisine is a distinguishing life experience that can be digitally captured, archived, and puzzled over by future generations. The race to capture this new experience market will be fierce.
Monsters and Pirates
What about enormous sea monsters? Of course, monsters will be a challenge for the low-powered, partially-autonomous cuisine submarines. However, if there is money in it, then there is room for specialists of the mercenary persuasion: the monster hunters. When you support that sort of economic ecosystem, you’re going to have deep-ocean pirates, too. Pirates might steal a rare bounty or they might steal the submarine altogether. Which navy will patrol the deep ocean? Is there “coast” down there that could arguably be guarded? Or are we left to an anarchic, self-regulating base condition of mutual anticipation? Must cuisine submarines include self-defense mechanisms? Undoubtedly, yes, so the only question is: how deadly must those defenses be? It all comes down to the pirates and the monsters.
Envision deep-ocean mercenaries and their submarine robots as the fur trappers of early Canada. This could be the pathway that finally leads to permanent human settlements on the bottom of the ocean. As ever, by converting the bountiful inheritance that humanity has fallen over backwards into, we may skim the margins to invest scarce profits into infrastructure that might legitimately lead to some small measure of human progress.
At first, deep ocean settlements would function as rare species fisheries, but as dolphins are increasingly domesticated to perform “free-range” ocean population management, the settlements would become coordination centers for a burgeoning culinary economy. Eventually, we could look to the ocean as a viable alternative to living among the air-breathers, so long as we’re willing to buy into the idea of deep ocean cuisine.
All for the sweet, sweet novel and scary deep ocean flavors.