PRESIDENT OF DAVID CHAUVIN’S SEAFOOD COMPANY, LLC
Q: What is the key to being successful in business?
To always continue educating yourself and stretching your mind. To learn what your customers are seeking and how you could be better at servicing them.
Q: How much has your industry changed from the time you started to now?
While much has changed in the industry, there are parts that have stayed the same. For the most part, we have lost a great sector of our industry due to government regulations, imports and now we will lose more with freshwater diversion issues and our government not listening to the issues that the seafood industry has with this particular issue.
Q: Did you see yourself in this position as a child?
Never. I’m very far away from where I thought I would be as a child.
Q: So much discussion about the price of seafood. How do we fix it and make it fair for all?
For the big picture, it would take our Secretary of Commerce and the US Trade Representative meeting with our leaders in the industry and Gulf state and East Coast politicians, both federal and state, to show the unfairness of the shrimp trade market and how it is diminishing our domestic shrimp industry. Our state officials and Governor Edwards would need to work closely with leaders in our industry and need to realize the importance of the industry. Secondly, Americans would need to understand that we are the dumping grounds for junk seafood coming from other countries. Everyday Americans would care about what they eat.
Another thing that I think would be a help is that the fishing groups would meet with processors ahead of the season to work out a price on shrimp before beginning the season, like what they do on the West Coast and Alaska. And working with CPRA in making decisions for our coast that will not cost us all of our seafood industries.
Q: What is your greatest accomplishment as a businessperson?
Simply learning how to work alongside of my husband as a team since he was mainly on a vessel for most of our marriage. We each had our own ideas and had to learn to compromise or condense things. Learning how to work with others more efficiently to produce great results within the business. Also adapting to changes within our industry.
Q: How are imports affecting the local seafood landscape?
Imports affect our local industry by depressing the shrimp prices to fishermen, which in turn makes it harder for fishers to keep up with upgrades on their vessels and getting ahead in life.
Q: What makes a good CEO?
Having worked from the ground up and never forgetting where you come from. Titles don’t mean much, people do.
Q: If you could describe your industry in one word, what word would you say? Complicated
Q: What are your plans for the future?
To keep on working in creating a place where Americans and international tourists can learn about our industry and how important it is with our Down The Bayou Shrimp Tours. We are working on the marketing of it. Our group tour takes about 1.5 hours in understanding the many facets of our businesses and the shrimping industry. You will discover the ins and outs of the skimmer vessels vs. the trawler; how many pounds a boat can catch, the sustainability of our industry; the way we take the environmental issues serious in working with the many agencies to insure we meet the criteria that is necessary to remain sustainable; the issues between domestic and imports and how to make sure you’re making healthy choices when it comes to purchasing shrimp; the amounts of supplies needed on vessels; the intricate workings of the ice plants; the way we unload and how we unload; what shrimp is supposed to look like when purchasing fresh shrimp; how a vessel works in placing the nets in the water; how we freeze shrimp with our CO2 machines; and how we de-head and grade them. We have a passion for our industry and making things better. •