Sara choose to follow an early passion for fish that has become a now 15-year aquaculture career. She earned a degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture from Auburn University and after graduating immediately dove in with Auburn's US-AID aquaculture development in Uganda. For the last decade, aquaculture development has been a focal point of her career. She has been working either in the US or Africa with aquaculture production, education, or research and development with species ranging from microalgae to tilapia. She's run large scale production facilities to micro-aquaculture businesses operated by students. First coming to Maine as an Americorps volunteer, Sara quickly connected to Maine's aquaculture and fishing communities. In 2014, Sara pursued eel aquaculture and founded American Unagi, where she has continued to bring that early passion to growing the industry and producing great fish.
John is a capitalist and entrepreneur focusing on unique opportunities in companies at early stage or inflection points. He is active in a variety of market sectors, but specializes in niche market sector products and limited-entry sectors, with a particular affinity for the marine aquaculture space. He creates value through capital, operational and expansion strategies. John has co-founded and successfully exited several startups which scaled to $100MM+, and has also served as CEO/COO for operating companies up to $30MM. In addition to his advisory role, John will spearhead the capitalization and expansion of American Unagi.
Pat has truly been one of the founders in the American glass eel fishery and has been involved in the industry for nearly 40 years. Beginning her eel fishing career in 1978, along with her husband Paul, she then ran one of the first eel farms in the US (located in South Carolina). From those humble beginning in a fledgling industry, she became one of Maine’s most trusted buyers and continues to fish today. Pat has been an important, reliant voice in the fishery as active member of the Eel Advisory Committee of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. She brings to American Unagi not only a immense amount of knowledge of the eel industry and a connection to the local fishery but understanding of the needs of the fish from the rivers to the farm.
Sam Chapman has been influential in shaping the successful development of the aquaculture industry in Maine and his hatchery work, beginning in the 1975, helped grow the shellfish industry to what is today. Sam's influence can be seen in the design of coastal research and hatcheries facilities for University of Maine, University of New Hampshire, University of New England, and Bowdoin Colleges, along with the Down East Salmon Federation and his own American Shad Hatchery, where he developed techniques that enhanced egg production for many of the other hatcheries spawning shad on the East Coast. A creative and practical problem solver, Sam brings experience and insight to the American Unagi team that combines an appreciation for biology with a solid understanding of engineering and design.
Frank is one of the leading seafood entrepreneurs in the North America, and in addition to his broad background in wild-harvest seafood, he has had seminal experience developing retail markets for leading species of farmed seafood. His seafood career was rooted in Maine with the founding of Great Eastern Mussel farms, where he pioneered the retail and food service markets for farmed live mussels, and Ocean Products, Inc. one of the leaders in the North American farmed salmon industry. He went on to found Costa Rica-based Rain Forest Aquaculture Products, which under his leadership pioneered the retail market for fresh tilapia fillets -- now the fourth mostly widely consumed seafood product in the U.S. Most recently he developed Bahama Biters, a stone crab export business out of the Bahamas where he has recruited local Bahamian fisherman, equipped local boats, financed and built local processing plant, and created logistics chain capable of supporting export to Miami of this high-value fresh product. Frank brings unparalleled aquaculture and seafood marketing acumen to American Unagi.
Growing up around the ocean, Josh had an interest in fisheries and aquaculture from an early age. He pursued his BS in Marine Biology from the University of New England and then went on to earn his MS in Zoology at the University of British Columbia where he studied how salinity effects growth and feed conversion of Coho and Atlantic salmon in recirculating aquaculture systems. After graduate school, Josh was drawn back to Maine to be part of a long tradition of fisheries and aquaculture innovation. As our lead on biology and operations, Josh brings an extensive knowledge of fish physiology and recirculating aquaculture management.
Kathleen received her Masters of Aquaculture from Auburn University and BSc. in Marine Science from the University of Maine. In addition to her experience managing the catfish and tilapia projects at Auburn, her masters thesis and start of her career was focused on aquaculture and conservation efforts first with steelhead populations in Oregon and then with lake sturgeon populations in Michigan. She joined the American Unagi team in November 2018 and we are excited to have her back in Maine working with eels.
Tammy earned a BSc. In Marine Biology at the University of British Columbia (2014), followed by her MSc. In Applied Marine Science with the University of Cape Town, South Africa (2016). Prior to joining American Unagi in 2018, she worked as an aquarist for a start-up aquaponics company growing tilapia in southern Africa. After which, her interest in land-based recirculating systems drew her to coastal Maine where heritage and pioneering aquaculture industries continue to grow and diversify. Tammy assists with sales and inventory management for American Unagi and helps with aquatic husbandry duties on the farm.
Charlie grew up Maine and put himself through school cooking professionally in the Midcoast area. He earned a BSc. In Wildlife Ecology from the University of Maine and started his scientific career managing seabird colonies for USFWS. Charlie is now well-versed in Maine’s aquaculture world and has professionally grown microalgae, edible seaweeds, and shellfish for University programs and private businesses. His experience in scaling commercial production, product development, hands-on farm production, and even the fast paced world of professional kitchens make him a welcome addition to the production team at American Unagi.