Traditional Fisheries Update | Season 4

Dave Johnson and Gary Groomes established a business with the dual purpose of solving the lionfish infestation of the Atlantic Ocean, by selling lionfish intended for eating. Will they earn a deal on Shark Tank Season 4? Find out in our Traditional Fisheries update!

Shark Tank Traditional Fisheries Update

Traditional Fisheries Update

  • Entrepreneurs: Dave Johnson and Gary Groomes
  • Business: Lionfish intended for eating
  • Ask: $225,000 for 25% equity
  • Result: No deal
  • Shark: None

Dave and Gary entered the tank looking for an investment in their business, Traditional Fisheries. They kicked things off with some startling statistics and facts regarding lionfish, an exotic fish sold in pet stores to saltwater aquarium hobbyists. Evidently, some lionfish had been released into the Atlantic Ocean years back. With no natural predators, they began wreaking havoc on the ecosystem.

Traditional Fisheries sought to solve this problem, by catching, cooking, and eating lionfish. It was at this part of the pitch they served the sharks lionfish on a plate. Lori Greiner was apprehensive, but Dave and Gary assured her that it was reminiscent of snapper or grouper. As the sharks tasted their lionfish, they all agreed it was tasty.

Daymond John, the resident fisherman of the sharks, chimed in here, agreeing that the lionfish was delicious and wondering why no other commercial fishermen were harvesting them to eat. Gary said that harvesting lionfish was labor intensive and costly.

Mark Cuban theorized that this would make the price per pound higher, since the supply could not scale rapidly if it relied on spear fishermen. Dave and Gary said that the price was actually on par with grouper, snapper, and sea bass, as there are many spearing cooperatives in Mexico ready for hire.

Robert Herjavec asked how consumers were supposed to know about the environmental problem of an unchecked lionfish population. Dave and Gary admitted that raising public awareness was a big challenge for Traditional Fisheries. Robert then asked, if lionfish are such a problem, why doesn’t the government take action? Gary theorized it’s from lack of funding.

Daymond decided to steer things in a business direction, asking about sales. Gary revealed they had sold $12,000 that year. Kevin O’Leary commented that it was not much, and the other sharks seemed to agree. Robert decided this was as good a time as any to give his spiel. He said he expected Traditional Fisheries to encounter a “market acceptance problem” due to lack of public awareness, so he was out.

Kevin spoke up next. He felt it would take far too long to get the public on board with consuming lionfish, so he was out. Daymond too felt it would take time, and that $225,000 was not enough money to pull it off. Because of the monumental cost required to get the job done, he was out. Mark and Lori agreed, and both went out for the same reason.

With all of the sharks out, Dave and Gary made their exit. The lionfish would live to fight another day, but what would happen for Dave and Gary? Keep reading our Traditional Fisheries update to find out!

Unfortunately, within months of filming, the company went out of business. Dave and Gary moved onto other ventures, but their mission would live on. As of 2021, Publix and Whole Foods have started selling lionfish filets. This will be our final Traditional Fisheries update.

Would you like to learn about the other companies featured on Season 4 Episode 20? Follow the links below!

For even more on companies and products, be sure to stop by our Season 4 Products Page!

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Andrew Smith is the founder and owner of Shark Tank Recap. He is a longtime Shark Tank fan that has been watching it for years and has seen every episode multiple times. His friends know him as the Shark Tank expert, because he can answer any question about the show! His favorite Shark Tank products are Bertello's pizza oven and Bug Bite Thing!