Q&A: Is Today's Catch tomorrow's hit?

By

April Forristall, SeafoodSource.com assistant editor

Published on
November 15, 2009

 David Leung grew up in Boston, surrounded by some of the world's best seafood. After earning a degree in electrical and mechanical engineering and spending 18 years in the corporate world, including a stint at General Electric, he realized he needed a change.

So, with the help of partner Michael Sichonidis, Leung last month launched TodaysCatch.com, a global online trading platform they hope will revolutionize the way fishermen and other industry players sell seafood. I caught up Leung recently to talk to him about his new Web site.

Forristall: How did Today's Catch come about?
Leung: After 18 years, I felt my life was stagnant in the corporate world. Growing up in Boston, my passion is the ocean, seafood and fishing. Seafood is never going to go anywhere, especially now with it growing in popularity because of the health benefits.

[Co-owner and COO Michael Sichonidis] and I realized that there are so many types of seafood out there and a lot of people want to get access to them, but they can't because of restrictions like availability at local supermarkets and cost. We thought an efficient, cost effective, no-limit access to any particular seafood would make a great business.

I have family in the seafood industry that we leaned on to get perspective on how to make life easier for them. A lot of fishermen get back in from fishing and they just offload it to wholesalers who are ready to cut them a check. It's direct, but lazy. If you can ship it yourself, you gain more profit.

When did the site launch?
In late October. It's been in the makings, in my mind, for about five years or so, and we put it into works in January 2008. We finally put the finished product out there after many, many revisions and test runs to make sure we had the ultimate site.

Explain how the site works.
There is no auctioning, you put your best price up front and customers will see that. Anyone who posts their items on our site are not obligated to keep it there. If a fishing vessel is coming in and reports a 10,000-pound catch and it doesn't sell on our site before they can get it to someone else, they can go back on the site and change the information — it's all in real time.

Rather than getting back from their boats to go to meet with wholesalers who can hold out and force them to drop prices, fishermen can post something and have it sold before they even get back from a trip. It gives users limitless access and availability anywhere in the world at any given time to surf, browse, post and shop for almost any type of seafood.

What has the response been so far?
Right now there has been very little since we just introduced ourselves. However, we did go to the International Boston Seafood Show in March to promote the idea and all the feedback we got was, "That's it, that's it." People said the service is very highly needed in the field to gain productivity, and they saw the benefits of what we are doing. People love it because it gives them another avenue to sell product.

What is the site's ultimate goal?
It's a fresh new way to do seafood business. Individual company sites are not enough. We're only one domain, but when you put your items for sale out in a global seafood community more people will see it whether they know your name or not. We want the site to make everybody happy. The fishermen themselves won't get taken advantage of. Consumers are going to be excited because they don't have to go to expensive supermarkets. There are benefits for everybody — even brokers, who are the driving source of the business.

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