California's Buena Vista Seafood aims to make a difference by dedicating a portion of its profits to NGOs

Published on
July 17, 2019

After Dale Sims resigned from CleanFish, the company he founded nearly 15 years ago, in late May, he sought to build a seafood importing business that would make a difference.

“I’m 71, but I’m a young 71 [and not ready to retire],” Sims told SeafoodSource. “I kept thinking more about what do I want to do going forward and what kind of impact I could make with buying and selling fish.”

When Sea2050 acquired CleanFish in 2018, part of the condition of the sale was that Sims stay on at least a year, according to Sims. Sims told SeafoodSource that he became unhappy with the management style at Sea2050 and the departure of Anna McFarlane, former CEO of Wulf’s Fish, which is operated by Sea2050.

In late June, CleanFish filed a complaint in federal court alleging that Sims and his new seafood business, Buena Vista Seafood, along with Island Sea Farms in Salt Spring Island, British Columbia; Paul Simpson, Island Sea Farms’ owner; and Nanci Dixon, an Island Sea Farm employee; conspired to steal trade secrets. Sims denies all the claims in the lawsuit.

Over the past 15 years of running CleanFish, Sims said he has grown personally and professionally, leading to his desire to contribute positively to the oceans and the world.

“When I look out at the world and the oceans, I tend to take all of this - the increasing number and size of dead zones in the Gulf and other places around the world, acidification in the oceans, and all these different things - personally. I think about what is going to happen to the kids of my brothers and sisters; I’m concerned about the future of the planet,” Sims said.

As a result, Sims formed San Francisco, California-based Buena Vista Seafood, a seafood importing, brokering, sales, and marketing company. 

“Buena Vista for me, means having a positive outlook for the future. It is the driving force behind me starting this new venture,” he said.

Buena Vista Seafood will dedicate a portion of its profits to NGOs active in environmental issues. One of its first funding benefactors is the Wild Oyster Project, which works to bring native oysters back to San Francisco Bay through restoration, community engagement, and thoughtful urban planning.

Buena Vista is initially partnering with Island Sea Farms and wild fisheries group Kitikmeot Foods, part of the Nunavut Development Corporation, in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada. The Nunavut Arctic char fishery has received approval from Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program.

Buena Vista will be the exclusive U.S. importer of Cambridge Bay Nunavut char and “anticipates working closely with distributors that include: Organic Ocean in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Hooked in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Poissoneire La Mer in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Foods In Season in Portland, Oregon; Browne Trading in Portland, Maine; and other key distributors to bring this truly special fish to top restaurants and specialty markets across North America,” Sims said.

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