Meet Wayne Samiere
Wayne Samiere’s experience in sashimi distribution has given him the ability to easily recognize a good-tasting fish when he sees one. But as a trained marine biologist, he can also recognize why it tastes so good. By combining his knowledge of the fishing industry with his passion for aquaculture and environmental conservation, Samiere offers clients a value beyond his product’s price tag– The satisfaction of knowing their purchase was chosen with great care, knowledge and sensitivity for preserving the environmental heritage of the world’s most coveted seafood. "Some guys have pictures of beautiful girls on their walls," Samiere says. "But I have pictures of bright, clear, crisp chunks of beautiful, sashimi-grade fish meat. I love working with fish, and I love owning and running a business where I’m able to sell a product that I am deeply proud of.
"As a biologist, I cannot condone net fishing because it destroys the habitat, and I don’t allow our buyers to purchase fish that have not reached reproductive maturity." As a sashimi provider for some of the nation’s top restaurants, Samiere knows his clients expect nothing short of the best. He doesn’t wait until the auction to determine whether or not to buy fish from a particular boat. He knows the fishermen personally and is aware of their techniques and locations. "I am very conscious of what area the boats are fishing. When they tell me they are fishing north, I know they are fishing in colder waters and the meat will be more fatty and have a deeper color." Samiere’s training and dedication to the environment affect every decision he makes, including net fishing and purchasing immature fish.
Samiere’s fascination with the water began at a young age. "One of my earliest memories is of going to a family picnic and wandering down to the water to look for some extra line and a hook to catch something, anything at all, with a piece of bologna as bait." Samiere’s childhood passion for fishing would eventually lure him to the field of marine biology. After graduating from San Francisco State University, he worked in the field as a biologist/analyst for several organizations, including National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A trip to visit his brother in Hawaii in 1987 enticed him to learn the “lei” of the land and move his family to the capital city. Trading in his bologna for more sophisticated bait, he began angling for a career that combined his passion with his talents. He started by selling Hawaiian fish to wholesalers on the mainland. After two years, he took a job as a salesman for a commercial fishing equipment company. Within a few years, Samiere reached the top of the ladder and decided to launch Honolulu Fish Company in the back of his garage in 1995.
"Sharing my dream with my brothers and children makes Honolulu Fish Company much more than a business, it’s my life." By 1997, the business was growing, and he was ready to expand and relocate. He brought longtime friend Damon Johnson on board as a partner. A 20-year veteran of Hawaii’s seafood industry, Johnson is a specialist in food safety technology and implementation. In 2000, his brother, John, joined the company as a third partner, and recently two more Samiere brothers have joined the sales team. Today, the company is a certified minority business enterprise and is located in a 5,000-square-foot facility just minutes from the docks in Honolulu. HFC, which sells more than 30 varieties of fresh fish to more than 2,000 customers across the world, is regarded by its highly discerning chef and restaurant customers for its artisan-produced products, food safety techniques, and innovative use of technology in fish distribution.
HFC is a true family affair for Samiere, as his wife is sales manager. On weekends, he can be found out on his own boat with his kids, or at his waterfront home, which he also uses to entertain visiting chefs. "Sometimes we’ll bring back fish alive and keep them in an aquarium to observe for a day or two," Samiere said. With an obvious amount of pride, Samiere says his son wants to be a marine biologist. "Family is important to me," he says.
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