Mark Leslie, longtime High liner executive, passes away

Published on
November 22, 2017

Mark Leslie, a former shrimp buyer and manager in various roles in the seafood industry, including in supply chain, operations, acquisitions and fishery products, most recently for High Liner Foods, passed away at age 59 on Saturday, 18 November.

Leslie, of Danvers, Massachusetts, U.S.A., was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in October 2016. 

Leslie began working in the seafood industry since 1982 as a shrimp biologist in Ecuador. He then moved into buying and farming shrimp, and eventually rose to a serve in executive roles for several seafood companies. For the past 26 years, he had been employed as the vice president of business development for High Liner Foods.

Leslie was honored by the seafood industry with a Seafood Industry Research Fund (SIRF) Living Tribute Fund. The organizers of the annual Gorton Cup – a seafood industry hockey game played in March during Seafood Expo North America – dedicated this year’s game to him. 

“For the industry to reach out to me and to give back, it chokes me up,” Leslie told SeafoodSource at the game, which he attended. “Even though we all compete against each other, at the end of the day, we come together to support each other. It’s so nice to see how giving of an industry we are.” 

Leslie played a fundamental role in the implementation of the Better Seafood Board and served as one of its managers for six years, according to the National Fisheries Institute. His Seafood Industry Research Fund Living Tribute Fund is one of the highest grossing named funds of all time, NFI said.

“Mark Leslie was devoted to his family, his faith and the seafood community. Whether in business development for High Liner or in the early days of shrimp production in Ecuador he was a consummate professional known throughout the industry for his optimism and integrity,” NFI President John Connelly said. “In the boardroom, on the golf course and in his many charitable works he will be missed.”

Mark is survived by his wife, Maria Elena Leslie of Danvers, and four daughters. His funeral service will be held at the Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home at 167 Maple St. in Danvers on Saturday, 25 November. In lieu of flowers, Leslie asked that expressions of sympathy be made to the River House Homeless Shelter or to The Gloucester Fisherman's Fund.

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