Sea Eagle opens working waterfront on St. Helena Island
Sea Eagle officially opened their new St. Helena Island facility at Village Creek on Thursday after working on the new location for over a year after the purchase of Dopson Seafood in February 2016.
The new working waterfront production facility allows owner Craig Reaves and his crews to offload the catch right from their fishing boats, process the seafood and then sell it…all in the same spot at 34 Hallmark Road.
It doesn’t get much fresher than that.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held in between rain showers on Tuesday afternoon but the weather certainly didn’t hold back attendance at the event. Speakers included County Councilman Paul Sommerville, State Rep. Shannon Erickson and Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling. Also on hand was John WIlliams, Executive Director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, stressing the importance of what Sea Eagle is doing at Village Creek. “We’re only producing 10% of the U.S. market and we have 1.3 billion pounds of imported shrimp coming in to the U.S. each year,” Williams said.
“What Craig and his family are doing is not typical these days in our industry, but it is typical of their hard work and perseverance. They’re the hardest working family in Beaufort,” he added in his speech, lauding the Reaves’ efforts.
State Rep. Shannon Erickson also presented the Reaves family with an S.C. state flag that had been flown over the S.C. Statehouse in their honor.
“This is a big deal for us,” Craig said. “We’re able to streamline all of our production in one place and that makes it easier for us and helps keep costs down. This is a project over 2 years in the making. Working waterfront is the most important part of keeping local South Carolina seafood available, so we are very excited about Sea Eagle Market at Village Creek. This location helps us preserve working waterfront for future generations.”
The facility will produce locally caught fish, shrimp, crabs and oysters.
Sea Eagle offers a variety of local seafood at its Boundary Street market, operates its own local oyster beds and even has a CSF (Community Supported Fishery) to connect the public to local fisherman and to help in the preservation of our local fishing heritage.
“This means a lot. We’ve already had a record season so far; the best we’ve ever had. Yesterday alone we processed and packed over 13,000 pounds of shrimp,” Craig said.
In a world where the little guy is being forced out and family fishing businesses are hard to come by, we’re very happy for the Reaves family and we appreciate their commitment to the local seafood industry and to our wonderful community.