History

OUR HISTORY

In August of 1987, Capt. Neill’s Seafood, Inc. opened to process hand-picked domestic crabmeat for wholesale distribution.  We are a North Carolina based company producing fresh domestic crabmeat for almost 30 years. Captain Neill’s Seafood is named for Neill Carawan, Phillip and Melony’s first child, who died in 1981 at the age of 7. Phillip Carawan, Owner/Operator and President of Capt. Neill’s Seafood has been a commercial fisherman since he was in middle school, helping his older brother to pot crabs. By the time he was in high school, he owned his own commercial fishing operation. He worked afternoons and during the summer. While he attended school, he hired an older gentleman to run his boat.

 

Edward Neill Carawan

After he graduated high school, Phillip married and continued working on the water moving to larger boats as the years passed. Phillip’s children started being born and after his eldest son died at the age of seven, he moved his commercial fishing operation to Columbia, NC. He started buying and selling hard crabs and shedding soft shell crabs in Columbia.  Eventually, Phillip began to realize that there was a need of a crab meat processing plant in the Tyrrell County area. He researched the vitality and need for this crabmeat processing plant. The process began and Phillip drew on paper how this plant should be designed. A lifelong dream was coming to fruition as the building began. Phillip decided to name the plant Capt. Neill’s after his deceased son.

Many crabs have been processed since the opening of Capt. Neill’s Seafood in 1987.  Many people have been trained in the dying art of hand-picking crabmeat.  The average number of employees at Capt. Neill’s is between 200 employees. We are the largest domestic picking plant left.  We are a family owned and operated company still to this day.  Phillip’s children:  Tara Foreman, Julie Hodges, and Charlie Carawan now help in the operation of the plant.  We are a hands on operation because it is our desire to serve our customers with quality products. Our processing plant undergoes many required inspections and has strict guidelines to follow to insure the quality and integrity of our products. We are inspected and regulated by the FDA and North Carolina Shellfish Sanitation. We are also HACCP certified. Capt. Neill’s is Globally Certified at a Level 3 through SQF with a score of excellence.

We process Wild Caught crabs straight from North Carolina waters.  Capt. Neill’s has currently hired MRAG Americas to have the North Carolina Blue Crab certified Sustainable.  We are currently in the pre-assessment stage.  Capt Neill’s Seafood and MRAG are working closely with the NC Marine Fisheries to gain the certification within the next few years. Since Capt Neill’s is solely funding the sustainability of the blue crab of North Carolina, we will be the only company that can use the sustainability shield.  The North Carolina Department of Marine Fisheries regulates the sustainability of the crabs processed at Capt. Neill’s through open and closed seasons, trip ticket reporting, and size limitations.  Phillip has handled all aspects of the process from catching the crabs, buying and cooking them, processing, packing and shipping of the final products.  As well as processing Jumbo, Lump, Backfin and Claw crabmeat, we also process oysters, cocktail fingers, and ready to eat steamed crabs.  We strive to have the best quality products for the consumer.

We sell our products to different major markets as well as large grocery store chains.  We adhere to all the rules and regulation that they may require.  We also own a trucking company to ensure that our products are delivered and handled properly and in a controlled environment.  We look forward to partnering with you to offer the public the best crabmeat there is to offer.