CEO Wayne Samiere’s experience in sashimi distribution has given him the ability to easily recognize a great-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 the highest quality seafood — the satisfaction of knowing their fish was chosen with great care, knowledge and sensitivity for preserving the environmental heritage of the Pacific waters. “Some guys have pictures of beautiful girls on their walls,” Samiere says. “But I have pictures of bright, clear, fresh chunks of beautiful, sashimi-grade fish meat. I love working with fish and owning and running a business where I’m able to sell a product of which I’m deeply proud."
Samiere’s training and dedication to the environment affect every decision he makes, including net fishing and purchasing immature fish. “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 fattier and have a deeper color.”
Fascination with the water began for Samiere at a young age. “One of my earliest memories is of going to a family picnic and wandering down to the water with a line and 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 searching for a career that combined his passion with his talents. He started by selling Hawaiian fish to wholesalers on the mainland. Two years later he took a job as a salesman for a commercial fishing equipment company, and when he reached the top rungs of that company, decided in 1995 to launch Honolulu Fish Company in the back of his garage.
By 1997, the business was growing, and he was ready to expand and relocate. 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 3,000 customers, is regarded for the highest standards of quality, food safety and award-winning technology in fish distribution.