Steve Bosarge, President
Bosarge Boats Inc. started as a seafood production company in 1978 and has grown into a dynamic, full service marine enterprise with a diverse fleet of vessels providing services for various offshore and nearshore industries. Founded by third-generation maritime specialist, Steve Bosarge, the company has a fleet of vessels and specializes in relocation of endangered species, fisheries research support, seafood harvesting, oil and gas platform decommissioning and launch services, removal of marine debris, and specialty support services.
Steve has served as the president of the SSA and as a vice chair of the Shrimp Advisory Panel to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.
Leann Bosarge hails from a long line of commercial fishermen, who over the years have harvested everything from butterfish and red snapper to oysters, crabs and shrimp. She grew up working at the family business, Bosarge Boats Inc., which owns and operates a fleet of trawl vessels that fish the waters of both the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic.
She was the first member of her family to earn a college degree, after which she spent a few years working for a publicly traded financial institution. However, she soon returned to her true love – the commercial fishing industry and the family business.
Prior to joining SSA’s Board in 2023, Leann helped shape the future of our fisheries and ensured their long-term, science-based sustainability through her appointment to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. She was elected and served as Chairman of the Council from 2016 to 2018. She reached her term limit as a voting member of the Council in the summer of 2022.
Lindsey Burroughs, Jr.
Captain Lindsey Burroughs learned to shrimp from his father. Every summer since he was six years old, he would accompany his father out on shrimping trips off the coast of Alabama and lend a hand where he could. When he was old enough, he bought his father’s boat, Becky Lynn, to pursue his own dream of being a captain. Burroughs moved from coastal locations as fish houses closed and gave way to tourism, finding a home in Bayou La Batre. Today, he owns and operates Alexandra Pearl to support his family.
Burroughs served formerly on the Board of the Alabama Shrimp Association before joining the Board of the Southern Shrimp Alliance. His activism is driven by an understanding that unfairly traded shrimp have depressed the prices for shrimp in the United States while other costs of business continue to rise. It is an untenable situation for small family businesses like his own.
Mike Dubberly recalls his father using his boat on weekends to catch shrimp for his family’s Sunday dinner. Word spread through town and folks began driving to his house asking if he could catch shrimp for their dinner as well. By the 1970s, shrimping turned into his full-time job. The Dubberlys now have two freezer boats and two docks. Mike is the captain of F/V Daddy’s Boy and his brother is the captain of F/V Jenna Renee. Mike’s son and daughter are his crew. The Dubberly’s catch, Sweet Savannah Shrimp, is sold location.
When Mike learned about the burgeoning industry initiative to address dumped shrimp imports, he jumped onboard right away. He is a founding member of SSA and has served on the Board of Directors since its inception. Although he is a member of the Georgia Shrimp Association, Mike also wanted a national association to give fishermen a unified voice in other industry-wide issues, such as environmental regulations. Mike knows that fishermen have a way to act collectively to address the increasing levels of shrimp entering the U.S. market and issues such as bycatch reduction through SSA.
In the 1940s, Ben Millis started a business to unload fishing boats and pack shrimp, fish, clams and oysters in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina. Four generations later, the family business is going strong. Nancy Edens is the founder’s granddaughter and president of B.F. Millis & Sons Seafood. She is fortunate to have one of her sons work with her at the fishhouse. Her husband is a commercial fisherman, as is another of her sons, and her teenage grandsons help their Dad with shrimping and own mullet boats.
Nancy has been a member of the Southern Shrimp Alliance since its first years and joined the Board of Directors in 2004. She initially declined the nomination for the director position, as she has served on several demanding fishery management plan advisory committees in North Carolina and is a current representative on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Shrimp Advisory Panel. However, after much thought and discussion, she decided to take on the position because she wants shrimping to continue to be a way of life for future generations.
Brent Fulcher is a third-generation family member in the seafood industry. He owns ten fishing vessels that are permitted to harvest shrimp, summer flounder, Atlantic sea scallops, monkfish, scup, black sea bass, and more. In addition, he owns two seafood processing facilities: B&J Seafood in New Bern and Beaufort Inlet Seafood in Beaufort. His businesses support and purchase from over 200 independent fishermen along the east coast. Being vertically integrated, Brent is involved in every aspect of the seafood industry—harvesting, purchasing, packing, processing and marketing.
Brent is currently chairman of the North Carolina Fisheries Association, a board member on the Southern Shrimp Alliance, and a member of the Blue Water Fisherman’s Association. He is presently an industry representative on the Federal Sea Scallop Advisory Committee for the New England Management Council and serves on the Finfish Advisory Committee. He previously served as a protected species adviser for the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries.
Christine (“Chris”) Gala’s grandfather, father, brother, and husband made a living by shrimping. She is from a typical multi-generational shrimp family, but Chris owns and manages one of the largest shrimping fleets in the nation. Established in 1977, Trico Shrimp Company owns thirteen offshore trawlers that operate from Fort Myers, Florida during the winter and Freeport, Texas in the summer. The company runs a large unloading facility in Ft. Meyers, Florida that serves its boats and another 20 privately-owned boats. It also provides a retail seafood market on the water at the unloading dock.
Trico Shrimp Company helped organize the Southern Shrimp Alliance and has always provided strong leadership for the shrimp industry. In addition to serving as a director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, Chris sits on the Board of Directors for Texas Shrimp Association. While the price of shrimp is a primary concern for all in the shrimp industry, Chris recognizes that SSA works on a variety of issues that impact the ability to harvest shrimp. “Changes in Coast Guard regulations or state and federal permits and license moratoriums can force shrimpers out of business overnight. It is important that shrimpers participate in SSA so the industry can have a voice in these decisions that affect our businesses,” explains Chris.
Angela Portier and her husband, Chad, own and operate six shrimping vessels that land an average of two million pounds of wild-caught shrimp per year. The family-run business includes their two sons, the fifth generation of fishermen, and continues to grow despite a difficult market. Their largest shrimp vessel launched in January 2017 and was built by Chad with the help of his brother and his two sons. In March 2018, they bought a full-time working dock to unload shrimp in Cocodrie, Louisiana.
Faith Family Shrimp has recruited the next generation of fishermen, but Angela worries about the number of people leaving the industry. “U.S. fishermen abide by stringent environmental and safety standards. If the imported farm-raised shrimp produced with illegal antibiotics, slave-labor, and environmental short cuts were kept out of the U.S. market, this industry would be thriving,” she explains. This concern drives her to be an industry leader, serving on the Board of both the Southern Shrimp Alliance and the Louisiana Shrimp Association and as an active member of the American Shrimp Processors Association.
Since 1970, the Reaves family has been involved in all aspects of the seafood industry, owning shrimp trawlers, docks, and restaurants. Craig is part of the second generation. He and his wife Jana started C.J. Seafood, a wholesale business delivering fresh seafood all over the state of South Carolina, and operate two retail locations: Sea Eagle Market & Good Eats in Beaufort, SC and C.J. Seafood Express in Port Royal, SC. They also own Sea Eagle Market @ Village Creek, a working waterfront and retail space in St Helena Island. Their children, Melena and C.J., help run the businesses.
Craig created a Community Supported Fishery (CSF) program to connect consumers to local fishermen through a co-op in which members pre-pay for a weekly share of premium, locally caught, seasonal fish, shrimp and/or shellfish. Craig is also an active board member of the SC Seafood Alliance and Southern Shrimp Alliance.
Captain Taylor Tarvin is an airplane and helicopter pilot, not a shrimper. When he adopted Vasily, “Vasa,” and his two siblings from an orphanage in Russia, Taylor had no idea that it would lead to helping manage a shrimping business. The shift began when a teacher introduced Vasa, a natural athlete and physical learner, to local shrimp icon Wayne Magwood. Vasa spent his summer as a 12-year-old learning from Magwood and returned as a deckhand throughout middle and high school. At Captain Magwood’s suggestion, Taylor and his wife Cindy bought a wooden boat in 2011 for Vasa to run. Soon after, Tarvin Seafood was born to sell Vasa’s catch. Coming from a different background and without the long family history of shrimping, they recognized that the approach Tarvin Seafood took would need to be different. They grew slowly, selling the catch to restaurants instead of peddlers or retail customers, and that market segment remains the bulk of their business. Additionally, Cindy started a Community Supported Fishery (CSF) that allows local customers the ability to pay for shrimp ahead of a season and pick up fresh batches on a regular basis throughout the summer season.
For the past several seasons, Tarvin Seafood has operated from a dock that allows a small retail presence, and in this era of dwindling and uncertain dockage, they hope to expand the business to help provide an anchor for the remainder of the local fleet. The family is strongly committed to shrimpers working together to sell most of the catch locally, which allows the fishermen and shrimpers to maintain a high value for locally landed fish and shrimp.
“When I look at my son and his friends and I see a new generation of shrimpers full of energy. This industry has a future,” said Taylor. “But, this industry needs to work together to thrive. Through the Southern Shrimp Alliance, we can fight for policies and regulations that support a healthy industry.”
Sal Versaggi is a founding member of the Southern Shrimp Alliance and has served on the Board since the organization’s inception. As a past president of the Southeastern Fisheries Association, he saw the need for a union of shrimp fishermen and processors in the southeastern states to present a meaningful industry voice in Washington, DC. His vision was to unite the industry to address the unfettered amounts of unfairly-traded foreign shrimp entering the U.S. market.
Sal is the president of Versaggi Shrimp Corporation, which was founded in 1912 by Salvatore Versaggi in St. Augustine, Florida, and owns six boats. He is the third generation of a family that has pioneered the shrimp industry in Florida for the last century. You can read more about the Versaggi’s family history at https://shrimpalliance.com/stories/the-versaggi-family-floridas-shrimp-pioneers/
John Wallace’s grandfather enjoyed crabbing. His father dabbled in fishing. But it wasn’t until John and his brothers started operating shrimp boats in their teens that the family started to make a living off of the ocean. John is a first-generation shrimper and owner of Gale Force, an ice boat. He operates Poteet Seafood Company, which has packed and distributed locally caught Wild Georgia Shrimp throughout the state for more than 35 years. His company is economically important to the Brunswick, Georgia area, regularly purchasing shrimp from twelve to fifteen boats. At the beginning of 2014, he opened a public seafood market.
“Commercial fishing is in my blood,” states Jeremy Zirlott. Both sides of his family have harvested Gulf seafood in Alabama for generations. “I started shrimping with my Daddy at age seven aboard the ‘Amanda Di-Ann.”
1997 was a big year for Jeremy. He formed Zirlott Trawlers, Inc.. He bought his first steel hull freezer boat and later that year married Kim. But after that, the market for shrimp changed. Prices dropped. Jeremy and Kim realized they needed a new way to remain profitable.
“Jeremy focused on quality—packing at sea—and I started selling our shrimp,” said Kim Zirlott. “Yet, much is beyond our control. Unneeded regulations increase production costs and subsidized, dumped shrimp imports depress our prices.”
Don’t be confused, but Bama Sea Products is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is one of the largest processors and distributors of wild-caught domestic shrimp in the United States, employing 120 individuals in their 100,000 square foot plant and cold storage. Michael Stephens, the CEO, is the third-generation in the shrimp industry. His grandfather owned two shrimp boats in the 1970s. His father, John, ran one of the boats and started the family’s first packing house in Bayou La Batre, Alabama in 1979, hence the company name.
Bama Sea Products is a founding member of SSA and Michael has served on SSA’s Board since 2015. He is passionate about SSA’s involvement in fisheries management issues and is proud of SSA’s role in the sustainability and management of U.S. wild-caught shrimp fishery.