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November 4, 2014

Ecuador/Guatemala/USA

Southern Fisheries, Domingo Moreira and“TRUE BRAND”

 

Domingo Moreira, the third in a line of shrimp entrepreneurs spanning half a century, believes the shrimp farming industry’s drive for larger scale production has led to a focus on quantity over quality—and his company is aiming to help change that for the USA market.

 

His grandfather moved the family from Cuba to Guatemala in the 1960s to start a shrimp boat business.  In the 1980s, his father started a company called Ladex in Florida to import shrimp from the Guatemala.

 

Moreira joined Ladex in 2001 and helped expand its footprint from Guatemala to Ecuador, Peru, Thailand, Indonesia and China.

 

When Pescanova bought Ladex in 2007, he stayed on as CEO of USA operations until 2011, well before Pescanova filed for bankruptcy in 2013.

 

“I knew things were bad at Pescanova, but I had no idea that things got to that level,” adding that one of the reasons he left of his own accord is that working for a big company went counter to his entrepreneurial spirit.

 

In 2012, he founded Miami-based Southern Fisheries, which is half owned by him and half by the family that owns Ecuadorian shrimp producer Empagran.

 

With shrimp from Ecuadorian farmers, Southern Fisheries is launching “TRUE BRAND”, aimed at becoming a national USA brand known for high quality standards and adherence to advertised specifications.  The company will have an eight-person quality control team inspect product as it is packed in Ecuador and guarantees that TRUE BRAND shrimp will contain less than 1% total defects.

 

“We really want to drag the industry back to the standards that my grandfather maintained early on,” Moreira said.

 

Moreira sees the new brand adding $10 to $15 million to Southern Fisheries’ revenue next year.  The company posted $34 million in sales in 2013 and expects around $60 million this year.  He envisions the company selling around $50 million worth of TRUE BRAND product per year after three years of the product being on the market.

 

The company has trial orders lined up with six distributors in the USA for 120,000 pounds of headless, shell-on shrimp.

 

Southern Fisheries will sell the brand to ethnic and tier-one food service distributors in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the USA.

 

Financing is squared away for the TRUE BRAND launch, with Southern Fisheries having closed a $10 million line of credit with a bank in August 2014, Moreira said.

 

Southern Fisheries is a primary producer of farm-raised Penaeus vannamei, wild-caught Pacific whites and browns and wild-caught Mahi-Mahi.  It operates Facilities in Ecuador, Guatemala and Honduras and works with affiliates based in India and Thailand.

 

Information: Domingo Moreira, Southern Fisheries, 13335 SW 124th Street, Miami, Florida 33186, USA (phone 1-786-567-4000, website http://southernfisheries.net).

 

Source: 1. Undercurrent News.  Editor, Tom Seaman (undercurrent@undercurrentnews.com).  Seafood entrepreneur: Seeking quality amid scale in shrimp industry.  Matt Whittaker (matt.whittaker@undercurrentnews.com).  November 4, 2014.  2. Southern Fisheries’ Website.  Website Visit on November 4, 2014.

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