Sometime round about 1998, three veterans of the Oregon commercial fishing industry sat on the dock facing severe industry problems: declining prices for their troll caught Chinook salmon; lack of markets for their fish; and ‘farmed’ salmon (which contained artificial dyes) selling for lower prices, effectively replacing wild-caught salmon in many stores. To top it off, there was no place to buy fresh fish or sell commercially caught fish in coastal Gold Beach!
These three guys – Scott Boley, Jeff Werner and John Wilson – became “Fishermen Direct Seafood” and took on these obstacles as partners. Their combined energy grew this business into what it is today. Their retail store and processing plant provides the finest quality fish available. Their products are wild ocean-harvested and they provide a market for fishermen to sell their product at home in Gold Beach.
Jeff Werner’s story
Jeff Werner puts it this way, “Scott, John, and I started what would evolve into Fishermen Direct with some basic goals: 1) to provide the finest wild salmon, crab, albacore tuna and rockfish to the customer for the best possible price; 2) to educate our customers on the seafood they were eating and the fisheries issues that would help keep that seafood available; and, finally, 3) to increase the profits for our fellow fishing businesses.”
He noted that, with the move to their present location in 1998, they added two more goals: that of quality customer service and a clean facility. And within a few years Dixie Boley – Scott Boley’s wife, who had been integrally involved from the beginning – became a full partner. Jeff said, “We always believed with our over 100 years combined experience in the fishing business, it would translate into a successful seafood market!”
Dixie Boley, Scott’s wife
Here’s how Dixie puts it: “Fishermen Direct started in the downstairs of the Nor’wester Restaurant, selling fish caught off our own boats. We had the opportunity to move into the Cannery Building at the Port of Gold Beach in 1998. Our business grew and prospered, and our goal at first was to get the freshest locally caught salmon, rock fish, and ling cod to our customers. Then, as we started carrying fresh Dungeness crab (caught in season from December to mid-August), we built live tanks to hold them in, ensuring that our crab would also be the freshest locally caught crab available.”
She went on, “As the seasons changed we saw changes, too. John eventually sold the Helen Marie and now fishes the 32-foot SpuDot. Jeff still fishes the Deana Marie, but after Scott died in 2007, I sold the Frances to Mike Anderson, a young Eureka, California fisherman, in early 2008.”
The new guy on the block – Bruce Perdikis
The newest member of the crew – Bruce Perdikis, Operations Manager at Fishermen Direct Seafood – came to work there in April of 2003, and became a partner in the business in January of 2010. Says Bruce, “All of the products we process here at Fishermen Direct are of superior quality. Freshness is our #1 concern. As Operations Manager I make sure all parameters for quality are monitored and documented with HAACP Plans.”
He went on to say, “When we buy fish, I immediately have a certain percentage of the catch processed and blast frozen to insure the ‘Fresh Frozen’ Quality. We don’t wait for a few days to freeze our fish: it gets filleted, vacuum sealed, and frozen the same day we receive it. Our blast freezers are maintained at minus 10 degrees and we use a 4-mil thick vacuum seal bag, which when combined, give the fish an exceptionally long freezer life. Finally, all of our frozen inventory is dated and rotated so you will always receive the best possible product.”
It’s been 20 years or more since those three fishermen saw a need in their industry and met it head on, but Fishermen Direct Seafood is dedicated as always to selling the freshest local fish and best quality frozen product available. As Dixie says, “We value each and every customer, so come by and say hello next time you’re in Gold Beach. And rest assured: you will be welcome at Fishermen Direct Seafood!”