OUR STORY

Leigh Fishing Boat - Our Story

The small village of Leigh in the North Island of New Zealand boasts a population of about 750 people and has become one of the most productive fishing villages in New Zealand thanks to its abundance of Snapper and dedicated fishermen.

Even though the village and parent company is spelled “Leigh”, it was Leigh Fisheries’ Asian clientele that adopted the “Lee” spelling because it was most familiar to them. Leigh Fisheries decided to adopt this spelling and keep it as the brand for its subsidiaries. It’s now the accepted spelling for all Lee Fish subsidiaries while the parent company remains ‘Leigh Fisheries’ located in the town of Leigh.

The town’s name is believed to come from a travelling missionary named Reverend Samuel Leigh, but this bit of history is hotly debated after a pint or two in the local taverns.

Back in the 1950’s a handful of men got together with an idea to sell the superior quality fish caught from day boats to the consumer. The same philosophy continues some 60 odd years later. Today some of the original families like the Matheson, Aitken, Wyatt and Clarke’s that started the industry out of Leigh are still shareholders in Leigh Fisheries.

Leigh Fisheries itself was founded in 1956 with its factory just minutes away from the Leigh wharf which cuts down the time between catch and market. Dermot Cunningham an Irishman who sailed over from Ireland on his seine boat as a young man is now the majority shareholder and has been involved with the fisheries for roughly 35 years. Dermot was instrumental in developing the Japanese market which took the quality to another level when the Japanese introduced to fishermen the spiking of the fish which is known as “Ike-Jimi”.

Leigh Fisheries found themselves having to diversify from their snapper exports mainly to Japan because of the introduction of their own Japanese farmed snapper. Leigh Fisheries is now involved in all inshore and pelagic fresh fish species including Spiny Lobsters which are flown live predominantly to China.

While Leigh Fisheries is owned by numerous private shareholders, it conducts its business with a family feel to it. This is because Leigh Fisheries recognizes that it takes a huge effort from the fisherman, factory staff and marketing subsidiaries to make Leigh Fisheries one of the “standout” fresh fish producers in New Zealand.

Today Leigh Fisheries supplies close to 8,000,000lbs of high quality fresh fish annually to numerous countries around the world, a far cry from the 500lbs per week it used to supply local clubs and hotels in the 1950’s.

Greg Bishop who as a young man became involved in the fishing industry with Sanford and then set up chilled seafood exports for Fletcher Fishing in the early eighties became the CEO of Leigh Fisheries back in 1995. Greg quickly realized that in order to secure the markets he needed to form marketing partnerships and so in 1998 he approached Daniel Christen in Zurich Switzerland who was the fish procurement manager for Dorig and Brandl and Lee Fish Europe was founded.

After Lee Fish Europe’s success in Europe, Greg Bishop then approached Richard Adlem who at the time was working for New Zealand Seafood Marketing. In March 2001 Lee Fish USA was established to supply Leigh Fisheries fresh fish to the markets throughout North America.

It didn’t take long for both subsidiaries to lead the way in the marketing of fresh fish from New Zealand and today they set the bench mark in terms of quality and volumes as the “Lee Brand” is further recognized for its “Fresh, Wild & Natural” presence.
Lee Fish USA strategically located themselves within a few miles of the Los Angeles airport (LAX) so that they can recover their fresh seafood shipments from the airlines within hours upon arrival and redirect them to the local market or other States on the same day they arrived. This clearly gives Lee Fish USA an advantage as they can typically deliver fish to the wholesaler or end-user within 24 – 36 hours of the fish coming out of the water in New Zealand.

Richard Adlem, CEO of Lee Fish USA, says the concept is easy, “We want to deliver the highest quality fresh fish to the most discriminating clients throughout North America. Of course, this can only be possible because of our dedicated staff at Lee Fish USA with six warehouse personnel meticulously overseeing all the inbounds and shipments to the customers and six highly dedicated sales and administrative staff who work tirelessly to ensure our customers are happy”.

In 2010 Lee Fish Asia which is based out of Singapore was founded with Sam Buck who previously worked for Lee Fish USA heading up the team.

 

OUR TEAM

 

team-memberRichard Adlem
President and CEO

Richard was born and raised in Empangeni, South Africa. He studied Civil Engineering in Durban. In 1985, Richard travelled abroad to play Rugby for the Harlequins in Hawaii (where he met Phil Hall and was introduced to the seafood industry) and Manly in Australia. In 1989, Richard moved to Los Angeles to start working at New Zealand Seafood Marketing as a Sales Associate. In 2001, he left New Zealand Seafood to start Lee Fish USA, a subsidiary of Leigh Fisheries New Zealand. In 2004, Richard became a U.S. citizen. He is married and an avid sportsman. He’s a passionate golfer and still plays rugby with a senior rugby group which, once a year, travels internationally to compete.


 

team-memberMyles Bowker
Vice President – Sales and Marketing

Myles was born in South Africa where he spent his early childhood before immigrating to New Zealand. He studied Law and Business at the University of Otago before starting his career as a Finance Lawyer in Auckland. After a stint in Law he found his passion in sales where he honed his skills with a startup telecommunication company. After a few years of sales experience he moved to Los Angeles in 2013 to join Lee Fish as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. He soon fell in love with the industry and is passionate about telling the Lee Fish story to all that can understand his Kiwi accent.

An avid outdoors man, Myles is a former competitive rower and surf lifesaver. These days he lives in Venice Beach where he has an active lifestyle and otherwise drinks beer while trying to catch fish on his boat ‘Zinzan’.


 

team-memberJennifer Barrett
Vice President – Frozen Sales

Jennifer was born and raised in California. She studied Political Science and Spanish at the University of San Diego and also a foreign exchange student in Spain and Mexico. In 1999, as an intern, she started her career at Crest International- a long standing history as a seafood pioneer on the West Coast. Eventually, she opened her own trading company in San Diego specializing in frozen seafood for Mexico and representing national brands of imported seafood nationally. In her 15 plus years of service she has worked to develop domestic and international seafood products in the USA and abroad. Since 2013, she has served on the Board of Directors for the California Fisheries and Seafood Institute aiding the promotion of California seafood trade. In 2015, she was invited to help develop the frozen seafood division for Lee Fish USA. She is passionate and eager to develop the exciting line of premium frozen seafood selection and promote the mission of Lee Fish USA as a premium seafood house.

Fun facts: Jennifer is a Redondo Beach mom and enjoys learning about new cultures, travel, healthy seafood and seafood education.


 

team-member
Garrett Marks

Sales Representative

Garrett Marks is our one and only very own local grown boy. Born in the San Fernando Valley, he spent his childhood in the beautiful sunny temperate Los Angeles region, enjoying the lively bustling scene that it is. A member of Lee Fish USA since 2014, Garrett has worked his way through the ranks to become a member of the fast growing sales department. Although he is new to the seafood game, he has a keen sense of human relation and a growing passion for the trade and intricacies of the industry as a whole. When he is not in the office he enjoys being outdoors, breaking a sweat in the weight room and getting rough on the rugby pitch. A passionate sportsman, he has spent his life involved in many different athletics such as football, wrestling, boxing and mixed martial arts.


 

team-memberPeter Lee
Sales Representative/Tuna Specialist

Peter Lee is a South Korean born, US citizen who has lived in the Los Angeles area for 30 years. With over 25 years of sales experience, Peter has a developed understanding of the needs and requirements of his customers, which compliments his in-depth knowledge of both fresh and frozen tuna. As a Japanese Chef for 7 years, Peter worked on a daily basis with a wide variety of fresh tuna qualities, compounding his ability to grade tuna with absolute precision. As an agent for the procurement of frozen tuna throughout Asia, Peter deep understanding of the full production process gives him a unique appreciation for the quality control in high grade frozen tuna products. Outside of the office, Peter enjoys playing tennis, golf and the occasional game of bowling.


 

team-memberBrad Tennant
Sales Representative

Brad was born and raised in lower Michigan. He went to Northern Michigan University where he studied speech communications. After college he started working at a group home, Teaching Family Homes of Upper Michigan where he was the program manager. He taught common sense parenting for Delta County Probate Court and Northern Michigan University. He then began working for Schwann’s Sales where he quickly caught the sales bug. He had an opportunity to go and work for his favorite sports team, the Detroit Lions where he worked at Ford Field managing the corporate suites. From there he went to Oakland, CA to work with the Golden State Warriors and then down to Phoenix to work for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Phoenix Suns. He ended up back at Ford Field to work Super Bowl XL in Detroit. He has been in southern California for the last 10 years working in food and beverage sales. Brad recently joined Lee Fish USA as a sales representative. He has been passionate and eager to learn more about premium seafood products from all over the world.

Away from fish, Brad loves spending time with his wife Amy and 2 kids Angela (5) and Connor (2). He also loves refereeing high school football and umpiring little league baseball.


 

team-memberJames Kim
Financial Controller

James was born and raised in New York. He earned a BS in accounting at New York Institute of Technology. Previously, James was a controller at a construction firm for over 7 years where he developed financial metrics to move the company forward. In 2016, he moved to Los Angeles and started working for Lee Fish U.S.A. James is a tennis enthusiast and continues to compete at a high level.

“The team at Lee Fish U.S.A. is solid, the employees work hard and is always looking to improve and grow. It’s a great place to be!” – James


 

team-memberLoreli Carandang
Accounting / Office Administrator

Loreli was born in the Philippines and majored in Business Management at St. Scholastica’s College in Manila. After graduating, Loreli worked at Isuzu Automotive Dealership Inc. in Manila, Philippines as a Human Resources Assistant at the Executive Compensation Benefit Department. In 2010, Loreli moved to Los Angeles with her family and worked as a part-time office assistant to the Aguiluz Law Corporation before joining Lee Fish USA.


 

team-memberTito Cruz
Sales Administrator

Born in the Philippines, Tito immigrated to New York where he studied accounting and earned a certificate in computer programming. He subsequently managed two Japanese restaurants that complemented Tito’s passion for ramen, sushi, and seafood. For twenty years, he was the Office Manager and Bookkeeper for one of the biggest seafood wholesalers in New York. In 2013, he moved to Los Angeles to join the Lee Fish USA team.

Tito enjoys cooking, appreciates music and can play the guitar and piano. He competed in bowling leagues and takes pride that his sons also currently compete.

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