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Outlook 2017: Fortune Fish's Sean O'Scannlain

The president and CEO speaks about adding private labels and the company's quest to stop NOAA's 'over-burdensome' new importing rules.

Fortune Fish & Gourmet's President and CEO Sean O'Scannlain speaks about the company's careful acquisition of Coastal Seafoods and the next steps for the US-based seafood distributor.

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What were the three most significant developments for your business in the seafood industry in 2016?

Our purchase of Coastal Seafoods, a Minnesota-based seafood purveyor and retailer which expanded our service footprint to Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and areas of northern Iowa and northern Wisconsin.

The release of two additional private label products, Hangtown Oysters grown for us in the Kitsap Peninsula of Washington State and Coastal Seafood which is the private label for Fortune Imports.

Creating Fortune Imports, a Global Procurement Subsidiary of Fortune Fish & Gourmet, focused on expanding our current direct import program on the key principles of ethical, sustainable, high-quality products.

Looking ahead, what will be the three most important developments in 2017?

We will continue to grow our private label business through Fortune Imports by increasing our offerings in the Coastal Seafood line.

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We are currently remodeling our production facility, which will double the size of our freezer, dramatically increase our refrigerated seafood and gourmet storage, install a new live lobster system, expand our production room, add a tray pack room and increase our overall efficiency.

Continue to grow Fortune Minnesota by adding a fleet of refrigerated vehicles to service the market and expanding their portfolio with our private label seafood and gourmet foods.

What changes and developments do you expect your business to undergo next year?​​​

We expect the USDA catfish program to get overturned in 2017, so it can return to FDA jurisdiction where it belongs.

We will continue to import more seafood and we are hopeful that our lawsuit to stop NOAA’s costly and over-burdensome new rule for importing seafood will be successful

With the new [Trump] administration, we are expecting changes and developments to come rather quickly in 2017 and we have a very talented staff at Fortune that can easily adjust and adapt.

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