CleanFish expanding despite exit of co-founder Dale Sims

Published on
June 14, 2019

CleanFish, a San Francisco, California, U.S.A.-based seafood supplier specializing in higher-end brands with sustainability-focused bona fides, is expanding into new species and supplier partnerships.

The company is moving forward with its plans despite the departure of company co-founder Dale Sims, who unexpectedly resigned from the company in early June to start another seafood business venture called Buena Vista Seafood, according to his LinkedIn page. Sims did not respond to interview requests from SeafoodSource.

“It was not something that we were anticipating [this month], but we have been preparing for his retirement for the past year,” Alisha Lumea, director of marketing and communications for San Francisco, California, U.S.A.-based CleanFish, told SeafoodSource.

Since Sea 2050 acquired CleanFish last April, the company has built up its leadership team, allowing it to enhance its offerings with additional species – which will help it expand into additional retail accounts, according to Lumea.

CleanFish previously focused on foodservice accounts, but Sea 2050’s acquisition was designed to help build its retail business, as its products are currently in select grocery stores.

Last summer, Mike Moniz was brought on as CleanFish’s new managing director. More recently, Kelly Haden was hired as director of business development and Angel Chapanov was brought on as CleanFish’s director of supply chain planning and logistics, “which is what Dale was doing a lot of,” Lumea said.

The new leadership team is working to increase sales of CleanFish’s longtime products, such as Loch Duart salmon and organic Laughing Bird Shrimp, while branching into new species.

For example, CleanFish invested in a “significant partnership” with The Kampachi Company to supply its King Kampachi that is deep-water farmed off the coast of La Paz, Mexico. 

“Partnering with the farm to make this new venture a success is something we're really excited about,” Lumea said. “Deep-water, offshore aquaculture is such important technology for sustainable food production, and with their set-up in the Gulf of California, they are poised for growth.”

Up until now, kampachi has primarily had a “boutique audience” in the U.S. By investing in the partnership with The Kampachi Company, CleanFish “is committed to bringing this fish and its cutting-edge farming methods into the mainstream,” Lumea said.

The Kampachi Company’s La Paz, Mexico operation recently obtained Aquaculture Stewardship Council certification, making its King Kampachi the world’s first ASC-certified kampachi, the producer said in a press release. 

King Kampachi is available in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, and will soon be sold in Europe and Japan.

Plus, CleanFish announced at Seafood Expo North America in Boston, Massachusetts in March 2019 that it is the exclusive North American supplier of Nordic Blu Salmon, “the world's first and only marine net-pen farmed Atlantic salmon rated ‘Green — Best Choice’ by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program,” it said in a press release.

All of Nordic Blu’s sites and farms are also ASC-certified and GlobalG.A.P.-certified.

“Early interest from both foodservice and retail has been strong,” Lumea said. “The 'Green' Seafood Watch rating in particular makes it an easy sustainability story for consumers to relate to, and its high fat content and mild flavor profile make it versatile for both home cooking and restaurants.”

In addition to supplying fresh fish, CleanFish is exploring a branded Nordic Blu smoked salmon product since the fish “takes very well to curing and cold smoking,” Lumea added.

The supplier is also growing partnerships and programs with producers it has worked with for years, such as Mauritius redfish, Nordic halibut, and Kefalonia organic branzino.

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