CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina man says he has developed a better way to connect commercial fishers with the right customers, whether they are private buyers or commercial restaurants.

At a seafood restaurant in Charlotte, a culinary manager says the idea is intriguing, as sourcing quality, local fish can be a challenge.

What You Need To Know

  •  North Carolina man develops app to connect commercial fishers with local, nearby restaurants and customers

  •  The app is available along the coast of three southern states, with plans to expand

  •  A Charlotte-area restaurant says it would be another tool in the search for quality, local seafood

The Waterman Fish Bar’s culinary director, Chucc Landry, says he has spent a lot of time around seafood in his life and understands the industry. Landry oversees ordering and menus for High Tide Hospitality. 

“Seafood is in my DNA, I’m from New Orleans, Louisiana. So, I mean I was born to eat and love seafood,” Landry said. 

The restaurant and bar, located near Lake Norman, serves a variety of seafood and goes through a lot of it each week. Hundreds of pounds of it are delivered each week.

“If they’re not coming every day, they’re coming every other day,” Landry said with a smile.

But in this part of the state, it can be a struggle to get quality, local and fresh seafood.

“It’s not always easy, it’s a bit of a challenge, and sometimes we don’t have the house oysters, sometimes we don’t have a particular type of fish,” Landry detailed.

On the North Carolina coast, entrepreneur Landon Hill is reeling in a potential fix, turning his passion for fishing into a new business.

“I grew up visiting Ocean Isle beach, and that’s where fishing became a major passion of mine. Growing up surf fishing, that was until I was trusted to drive a boat. That’s where a whole new world opened up for me,” Hill said.

Hill grew up on the water and used a senior project from his time at UNC Wilmington to brainstorm a new business, which he then launched after graduation.

“It’ll tell you the price per pound, how much they have, when it was caught and what they prefer in terms of being paid,” Hill explained, while clicking through his new app.

As part of his project in the spring of 2021, Hill says local restaurants told him seafood often came in frozen on trucks. So he created his app, Local Catch, to match coastal commercial fishermen directly with nearby restaurants, fish markets and even individual buyers.

“A lot of commercial fishermen were resulting to connecting with large companies that are wholesaler, and getting a smaller profit off of selling in bulk,” Hill added. “Where this allows them to maybe sell in smaller quantities at a higher price.”

Hill’s app is not active in Charlotte yet, but Landry says it’s a new pool of seafood they would consider jumping in.

“We get daily fish lists from multiple vendors on the day-to-day, so just adding another reputable source that we can probably supply, or get supply from, would be great,” Landry said.

So far, the app is active along the North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia coastlines. In Wilmington, N.C., Hill says there are about 300 active buyers already using the app.

However, both Hill and Landry say it is important for customers and consumers to check suppliers’ licenses and credentials, especially around seafood. Hill says sellers on his app have to provide their dealer license and reseller ID.