Seafood Marketing, Certification
Executive Director, South Carolina Seafood Alliance
Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
The South Carolina Seafood Alliance certifies and promotes quality seafood, including shrimp, from the state of South Carolina. Frank Blum, its executive director, is a former long-line tuna/swordfish fishermen. He works tirelessly to inform consumers about the fishermen’s way of life, the issues that have caused a dramatic reduction to the state’s fishing industries, and what can be done to preserve the low-country’s heritage.
As a representative on the Southern Shrimp Alliance, Frank supports efforts to hold farm-raised shrimp imports to the legal minimum standards that domestic fishermen meet. This means increased testing and enforcement of U.S. laws designed to prevent products contaminated with banned antibiotics, produced using forced labor, and in violation of environmental and trade laws from entering the U.S. market.
President and CEO, Bosage Boats, Inc.
Bosarge Boats Inc. started as a seafood production company in 1978 and has grown into a dynamic, full service marine enterprise with a diverse fleet of vessels providing services for various offshore and nearshore industries. Founded by third-generation maritime specialist, Steve Bosarge, the company has a fleet of vessels and specializes in relocation of endangered species, fisheries research support, seafood harvesting, oil and gas platform decommissioning and launch services, removal of marine debris, and specialty support services.
Steve has served as the president of the SSA and as a vice chair of the Shrimp Advisory Panel to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.
Harvester/Shrimper, Dubberly’s Seafood
Mike Dubberly recalls his father using his boat on weekends to catch shrimp for his family’s Sunday dinner. Word spread through town and folks began driving to his house asking if he could catch shrimp for their dinner as well. By the 1970s, shrimping turned into his full-time job. The Dubberlys now have two freezer boats and two docks. Mike is the captain of F/V Daddy’s Boy and his brother is the captain of F/V Jenna Renee. Mike’s son and daughter are his crew. The Dubberly’s catch, Sweet Savannah Shrimp, is sold location.
When Mike learned about the burgeoning industry initiative to address dumped shrimp imports, he jumped onboard right away. He is a founding member of SSA and has served on the Board of Directors since its inception. Although he is a member of the Georgia Shrimp Association, Mike also wanted a national association to give fishermen a unified voice in other industry-wide issues, such as environmental regulations. Mike knows that fishermen have a way to act collectively to address the increasing levels of shrimp entering the U.S. market and issues such as bycatch reduction through SSA.
President, B.F. Millis & Sons Seafood
Sneads Ferry, NC
In the 1940s, Ben Millis started a business to unload fishing boats and pack shrimp, fish, clams and oysters in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina. Four generations later, the family business is going strong. Nancy Edens is the founder’s granddaughter and president of B.F. Millis & Sons Seafood. She is fortunate to have one of her sons work with her at the fishhouse. Her husband is a commercial fisherman, as is another of her sons, and her teenage grandsons help their Dad with shrimping and own mullet boats.
Nancy has been a member of the Southern Shrimp Alliance since its first years and joined the Board of Directors in 2004. She initially declined the nomination for the director position, as she has served on several demanding fishery management plan advisory committees in North Carolina and is a current representative on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Shrimp Advisory Panel. However, after much thought and discussion, she decided to take on the position because she wants shrimping to continue to be a way of life for future generations.
Owner, Beaufort Inlet Seafood, B&J Seafood
New Bern, North Carolina
Brent Fulcher is a third-generation family member in the seafood industry. He owns ten fishing vessels that are permitted to harvest shrimp, summer flounder, Atlantic sea scallops, monkfish, scup, black sea bass, and more. In addition, he owns two seafood processing facilities: B&J Seafood in New Bern and Beaufort Inlet Seafood in Beaufort. His businesses support and purchase from over 200 independent fishermen along the east coast. Being vertically integrated, Brent is involved in every aspect of the seafood industry—harvesting, purchasing, packing, processing and marketing.
Brent is currently chairman of the North Carolina Fisheries Association, a board member on the Southern Shrimp Alliance, and a member of the Blue Water Fisherman’s Association. He is presently an industry representative on the Federal Sea Scallop Advisory Committee for the New England Management Council and serves on the Finfish Advisory Committee. He previously served as a protected species adviser for the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries.
Managing Owner, Trico Shrimp Company
Ft Myers Beach, FL
Christine (“Chris”) Gala’s grandfather, father, brother, and husband made a living by shrimping. She is from a typical multi-generational shrimp family, but Chris owns and manages one of the largest shrimping fleets in the nation. Established in 1977, Trico Shrimp Company owns thirteen offshore trawlers that operate from Fort Myers, Florida during the winter and Freeport, Texas in the summer. The company runs a large unloading facility in Ft. Meyers, Florida that serves its boats and another 20 privately-owned boats. It also provides a retail seafood market on the water at the unloading dock.
Trico Shrimp Company helped organize the Southern Shrimp Alliance and has always provided strong leadership for the shrimp industry. In addition to serving as a director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, Chris sits on the Board of Directors for Texas Shrimp Association. While the price of shrimp is a primary concern for all in the shrimp industry, Chris recognizes that SSA works on a variety of issues that impact the ability to harvest shrimp. “Changes in Coast Guard regulations or state and federal permits and license moratoriums can force shrimpers out of business overnight. It is important that shrimpers participate in SSA so the industry can have a voice in these decisions that affect our businesses,” explains Chris.
Fisherman, Miss Alyssa
Captain Steve Johnson lives in rural Coden, Alabama, a community dependent on the seafood industries of shrimp, oysters, and crabs. He used to shrimp from Louisiana to Florida, but after 60 years in business, he sold his largest boats and “retired.” Now he only shrimps around Dauphin Island a few times a week on a 34-foot boat named after his granddaughter.
A third-generation shrimper, shrimping is a way of life for Steve. However, he advised his sons to seek different professions due to the dramatic changes in the U.S. shrimp industry that he witnessed over the past 20 years. With the effects of low-priced shrimp imports and rising costs of business (fuel, insurance, waterfront access, regulations, etc.), he was pleased to see his sons seek more secure jobs.
Steve has served on the Board of the Organized Seafood Association, which promotes Alabama wild-caught shrimp. Based in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, the Association was a founding member of SSA. In this capacity, Steve hosted a shrimp boil for elected officials and regulators in Washington, DC on behalf of SSA. The event was a well-loved way to promote issues facing the shrimp industry and thank those that work with shrimpers throughout the year. Steve joined SSA’s board in 2015 to help preserve the industry and keep it a viable way of life for future generations.
President, Zimco Marine
Harley Londrie has a Texas-sized presence in the shrimp industry, operating one of the largest shrimping fleets in the United States, a family-owned unloading and fueling facility, a processing and packing plant, and retail shrimp market in Brownsville, Texas. In its dedication to advancing knowledge about the U.S. shrimp industry, Texas Gulf Trawling also offers off-season tours on an actual shrimp trawler, followed by a shrimp cleaning demonstration, peeling contest and shrimp boil.
Harley’s family has been a part of the shrimp industry for over 60 years, spanning four generations. Zimco Marine started in the 1970s and at one point operated 23 shrimping vessels. In 1979, he established a family-owned unloading and fueling facility for shrimp in Port Isabel. Texas Gulf Trawling relocated to the Brownsville Shrimp Basin in 2010 and regularly employs 50 people to serve the family’s 15 boats and those of other multi-generational fishermen. The majority of the shrimp unloaded from the vessels is sold under the company’s brand of Texas Gold Shrimp or sold to other seafood brokers, but a small portion of the catch is sold directly to the customers through an on-site shrimp market.
Harley is the past president of the Texas Shrimp Association, through which he learned of the Southern Shrimp Alliance during its formation. An active member since its founding, he joined the Southern Shrimp Alliance’s Board of Directors in 2015. Harley would like to see a permanent solution to the annual shortfall of H-2B temporary worker visas that shrimping boats and processing facilities rely upon to fill seasonal employment gaps.
Owner/Operator, Princess Kim
Robert Nguyen escaped communists in Vietnam in an overcrowded fishing boat that could barely stay above water as it took on refugees cast off from other vessels. He left his small fishing village, came to the United States as a refugee, and ended up in Louisiana in 1984. He became so prosperous as a shrimper, that by the mid-1990s he owned his own dock, a few boats, and had nine employees. After Hurricane Katrina and as shrimp prices fell due to cheap shrimp imports, Robert sold his dock, downsized to a 73-foot boat and now relies on his son to be his deckhand. He also helps train fishermen at Coast Guard safety courses.
Robert learned of SSA when he received a letter about a Town Hall meeting. He was a representative of the Vietnamese American Fisherman’s Association and loved the idea of a national organization to protect the shrimp industry. After attending the meeting, he helped SSA garner support for trade petitions within the Vietnamese-American community. He joined SSA’s Board of Directors in 2008 to continue representing Louisiana and Vietnamese-American fishermen on wide-range of issues, understanding that a community of fishermen can accomplish a lot more than individuals.
Captain, Fair Maiden Seafoods
As a seventh-generation fisherman, shrimping is what Frank Parker knows best. He started operating independently in 1997 with an in-shore, freezer boat named Fair Maiden. He also owns two blue crab boats.
Frank can see how much the shrimp industry has changed over his life time with far fewer boats and prices that haven’t kept up with the costs of harvesting. Yet, he doesn’t think industry is dying. Instead, it is changing and serving local markets. For example, when shrimp prices dipped in 2005, Fair Maiden Seafoods began to sell the majority of its catch directly to consumers with smaller sizes being sold to bait shops. Fishermen typically offload to a fish house, and Frank would like to do that and not worry about retail sales when he comes back from a trip, but to get a higher value for his catch, he sells his catch off his boat at the dock.
Frank attended one of SSA’s Town Hall Meetings shortly after John Williams took over as executive director and decided to join SSA. He knew from his work with Mississippi Commercial Fisherman United that fishermen can accomplish more when they work together. In 2014, Frank was elected to SSA’s Board. He really wants to address illegal and unethical economic shortcuts, such as use of banned antibiotics and slave labor, in the production of farm-raised shrimp imports because they drive down the value of his catch.
Owner/Operator, Faith Family Shrimp Company
Angela Portier and her husband, Chad, own and operate six shrimping vessels that land an average of two million pounds of wild-caught shrimp per year. The family-run business includes their two sons, the fifth generation of fishermen, and continues to grow despite a difficult market. Their largest shrimp vessel launched in January 2017 and was built by Chad with the help of his brother and his two sons. In March 2018, they bought a full-time working dock to unload shrimp in Cocodrie, Louisiana.
Faith Family Shrimp has recruited the next generation of fishermen, but Angela worries about the number of people leaving the industry. “U.S. fishermen abide by stringent environmental and safety standards. If the imported farm-raised shrimp produced with illegal antibiotics, slave-labor, and environmental short cuts were kept out of the U.S. market, this industry would be thriving,” she explains. This concern drives her to be an industry leader, serving on the Board of both the Southern Shrimp Alliance and the Louisiana Shrimp Association and as an active member of the American Shrimp Processors Association.
Owner, CJ Seafood and Sea Eagle Seafood and Good Eats
Beaufort, South Carolina
Since 1970, the Reaves family has been involved in all aspects of the seafood industry, owning shrimp trawlers, docks, and restaurants. Craig is part of the second generation. He and his wife Jana started C.J. Seafood, a wholesale business delivering fresh seafood all over the state of South Carolina, and operate two retail locations: Sea Eagle Market & Good Eats in Beaufort, SC and C.J. Seafood Express in Port Royal, SC. They also own Sea Eagle Market @ Village Creek, a working waterfront and retail space in St Helena Island. Their children, Melena and C.J., help run the businesses.
Craig created a Community Supported Fishery (CSF) program to connect consumers to local fishermen through a co-op in which members pre-pay for a weekly share of premium, locally caught, seasonal fish, shrimp and/or shellfish. Craig is also an active board member of the SC Seafood Alliance and Southern Shrimp Alliance.
Assistant Manager, Texas Gulf Seafood
As the assistant manager at Texas Gulf Seafood, the largest fish house in Galveston, Crystal Truong has worked with shrimp fishermen for more than twenty years. She joined the company in 1997, a year after her niece, Cathy Huynh and husband Andy opened the first fish house in Galveston at 7th and Wharf. Today, 40 boats are docked, supplied and unloaded by Texas Gulf Seafood.
Crystal regularly assists Vietnamese fishermen and their families to overcome language barriers. She learned of SSA when a fisherman brought her information distributed by SSA to be translated from English to Vietnamese. Crystal reached out to SSA and later met with John Williams, the executive director, after a town hall meeting. She was surprised to learn about the wide variety and number of issues in which SSA is the sole representative of the shrimp industry. Texas Gulf Seafood became a member. A year later, Crystal was elected to the Board of Directors. You can read more of her story here: http://www.shrimpalliance.com/stories/crystal-truong-ssas-newest-tx-board-member/?hilite=%27crystal%27
President, Versaggi Shrimp Corporation
Sal Versaggi is a founding member of the Southern Shrimp Alliance and has served on the Board since the organization’s inception. As a past president of the Southeastern Fisheries Association, he saw the need for a union of shrimp fishermen and processors in the southeastern states to present a meaningful industry voice in Washington, DC. His vision was to unite the industry to address the unfettered amounts of unfairly-traded foreign shrimp entering the U.S. market.
Sal is the president of Versaggi Shrimp Corporation, which was founded in 1912 by Salvatore Versaggi in St. Augustine, Florida, and owns six boats. He is the third generation of a family that has pioneered the shrimp industry in Florida for the last century. You can read more about the Versaggi’s family history at http://www.shrimpalliance.com/stories/the-versaggi-family-floridas-shrimp-pioneers/
President, Gale Force Inc and Wait-N-Sea Inc (DBA Poteet Seafood Company)
John Wallace’s grandfather enjoyed crabbing. His father dabbled in fishing. But it wasn’t until John and his brothers started operating shrimp boats in their teens that the family started to make a living off of the ocean. John is a first-generation shrimper and owner of Gale Force, an ice boat. He operates Poteet Seafood Company, which has packed and distributed locally caught Wild Georgia Shrimp throughout the state for more than 35 years. His company is economically important to the Brunswick, Georgia area, regularly purchasing shrimp from twelve to fifteen boats. At the beginning of 2014, he opened a public seafood market.
Owner, W & W Dock
Shrimping the Texas Gulf has been a way of life for the Wallis family since the spring of 1964. Craig Wallis, a second-generation fisherman, purchased his first boat at the age of 16. Five other vessels followed. In 1979, Craig and his brother formed W & W Dock. The business expanded in 1987 by adding a 55-ton icehouse facility that not only supplies their own trawlers, but other shrimp boats as well. Today, Craig manages and staffs twelve of their own shrimp trawlers and several for other local owners, harvesting and unloading Texas Best Gulf Shrimp.
Craig has served on the executive board of the Texas Shrimp Association since 1981. He has been a member of the Southern Shrimp Alliance since it founding and has testified on multiple occasions about the harm caused by dumped shrimp imports before the International Trade Commission.
President, Penguin Frozen Foods
Jonathan Appelbaum is the President of Penguin Frozen Foods, a distributor of frozen shrimp products based in Northbrook, Illinois. The company’s team is made up of experienced and dedicated seafood professionals that have worked on shrimp boats, in packing plants, and in retail seafood operations. They turn U.S. wild-caught shrimp, a seasonal product, into a consistent supply of seafood that satisfies food service and retail customers 52 weeks a year.
Penguin Frozen Foods maintains partnerships with Gulf shrimp fleets and has supported the work of the Southern Shrimp Alliance since its inception. Since 2013, he has served on the Business Council of the organization. Jonathan has testified multiple times before the International Trade Commission about the how imported shrimp that fail to reflect the full cost of production drive down prices for U.S.-wild caught shrimp.
CEO, Bama Sea Products
St. Petersburg, Florida
Don’t be confused, but Bama Sea Products is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is one of the largest processors and distributors of wild-caught domestic shrimp in the United States, employing 120 individuals in their 100,000 square foot plant and cold storage. Michael Stephens, the CEO, is the third-generation in the shrimp industry. His grandfather owned two shrimp boats in the 1970s. His father, John, ran one of the boats and started the family’s first packing house in Bayou La Batre, Alabama in 1979, hence the company name.
Bama Sea Products is a founding member of SSA and Michael has served on SSA’s Board since 2015. He is passionate about SSA’s involvement in fisheries management issues and is proud of SSA’s role in the sustainability and management of U.S. wild-caught shrimp fishery.