Traditional Fisheries Lionfish

Dave Johnson and Gary Groomes were the founders of Traditional Fisheries, a seafood distributing company. They were concerned about the growing population of lionfish in the Atlantic Ocean. The lionfish was first imported from the Pacific Ocean and sold in tropical fish stores. About 20 years ago, someone tossed a handful of them into the Atlantic Ocean, and they multiplied like rabbits. They have no natural predators due to the venomous spines on their bodies. They are the predators and wreak havoc on the economy and ecology, as they gobble up snapper, grouper, shrimp, crab and lobster larvae.

Traditional Fisheries Lionfish

Dave and Gary figure if you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em. Except they are very difficult to catch. They won’t bite on a hook. They live in caves in reefs so cannot be netted. They need to be speared. Dave and Gary wanted to partner with Mexican and Caribbean spearing cooperatives to get lionfish onto menus. The sharks liked the taste of the lionfish, but not the idea of investing.

Traditional Fisheries Shark Tank 2

Traditional Fisheries Shark Tank 3

Later, Dave and Gary tried IndieGogo, but that also failed. There is no evidence of Traditional Fisheries still being in business—no website, no social media. A few restaurants started serving lionfish, and it was available in Whole Foods. We don’t know if Dave and Gary had anything to do with that, or with the research being conducted into the problem of lionfish as evidenced by the numerous articles in scientific journals.

Traditional Fisheries is no longer in business.

Shark Tank Air Date: 3/29/2013 – Season 4 – Episode 20




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