ASPA Member Feature: Tidelands Seafood Company, Inc.
November 6, 2020
The banks of Bayou Grand Caillou in Dulac, Louisiana, have been home to many shrimp processors over the last century. Although only a handful now remain, Tidelands Seafood Company, a fourth-generation family-owned company, is still operating and open today.
Alan “Andy” Gibson, 48, owner, grew up in an ever-changing industry that was started by his great grandfather, Aubin Buquet. Aubin began drying shrimp on platforms in the marshes of Terrebonne Parish in the early 1930s and was shipping his dried shrimp in wooden barrels to Japan until World War II.
With the loss of overseas customers, he embraced more modern technology, and in 1938, he opened the Buquet Canning Co. and transitioned from drying shrimp to canning shrimp. This also brought the customer base back to the U.S.
Aubin passed away in 1953, and his son, A.J., along with his brothers and sisters, continued the family canning business and also added oysters to their product line. That same year, A.J. started the Tidelands Seafood Company, which was the dockside unloading facility used to keep the boats closer to the fishing grounds since they used to travel all the way from Houma, La., to unload.
Tidelands Seafood was built next to the family store, and a supply house, fuel dock, and ice plant became the support system to the canning facility. The product was unloaded and trucked to the canning plant.
Andy’s father, Jesse “Jack” Gibson, married A.J.’s daughter, Judy, and he left the oil field to work in the family business managing the Tidelands’ dock and oversee the company fleet of vessels. In 1968, the newest company steel hull trawler was named “Capt. Andy” after the then 2-year-old Andy.
When the canneries began losing market share to the cheaper overseas imports, A.J. decided to shut down the cannery and continue the in-the-sack oyster business that sold fresh product from the company vessels. Jack bought the Tidelands division from A.J. in 1975. He continued in the vessel management and fresh product operation, mainly buying off the boats and sending the small shrimp to peeling plants while heading the larger shrimp and sending the tails to be graded and packed.
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