Stokes Fish Company was formed in 1931 by Beryl Stokes Sr. in Leesburg, Florida, which is approximately 40 miles north of Orlando. Due to the wonderful pristine lakes of Central Florida and Stokes Fish Company’s close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, Stokes created a very niche business specializing in the processing of wild catfish and Gulf shrimp.  During the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s the main export of seafood for Florida was wild catfish and shrimp.  During these years, Stokes shipped over 1 million pounds of catfish per month on rail cars.  The product was loaded in wooden barrels full of ice as shown above, circa 1941.  The main destination for delivery was to wholesale seafood companies in the Midwest region of the US, with the Chicago area being the most prominent destination.


With the advent of transport refrigeration for trailers in the mid-1950’s, Stokes began to transport its own product on refrigerated trucks to the Midwest region.  In addition to catfish and shrimp, other seafood products from the Florida’s Atlantic region and Gulf were shipped.                   

In 1952 Beryl “Sonny” Stokes Jr. began working in his family’s business after serving in the Air Force as a commissioned officer.  In the following years Sonny became President of the company.  He and his brother Bill ran the company until Bill retired in 2009.  Sonny is still very active in the company and is currently the Chairman and CEO of the company.


In 1961 Stokes Fish Company formed an ICC licensed trucking company, Lake Trucking Company.  Lake Trucking began to move product not only for Stokes Fish, but for other wholesale seafood companies in the Midwest also.  Lake Trucking today continues to be the prominent leader in the seafood and meat trucking industry from Florida to the Midwest and to the Rockies.


In the 1960’s -70’s the taste for wild catfish began to wane as the new “farm raised catfish” blossomed.  By the 1980’s farm raised catfish nearly killed the wild catfish markets.  In addition, the lower priced frozen shrimp from foreign markets also reduced the dependency on fresh Key West and Gulf shrimp.  Stokes Fish began to concentrate on buying fresh seafood from Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf waters as well as from South America, and Mexico.


In the 1980’s and 1990’s other foreign markets grew as the airline industry grew, and Stokes Fish began to sell product from Norway and Scotland.  We also began to move more and more seafood products for other companies through our trucking company, Lake Trucking.

In 2003 Stokes Fish built a new state-of-the-art 20,000 square ft. frozen and refrigerated distribution center in Leesburg, Florida to better service its growing needs and to comply with the FDA’s HACCP rules and regulations.


In 2010 Beryl “Sonny” Stokes recognized that in order to carry on his family and company’s legacy, he needed to develop a succession plan.  In 2010 a plan was developed to transition the management and eventually ownership from the Stokes family to a long time friend and consultant to the company for over thirty years, Ted Brozanski.  Ted has become the President/ COO of the company.  He along with his wife Margie, who is the Vice President of Sales, will work closely with Sonny to run the company and to develop its future direction.  Ted’s background is in management consulting, specializing in logistics and management processes, and Margie’s background is in senior sales management in the medical industry. 


Our future growth plans for the company are very strategic in nature.  We are looking to partner with other U.S. wholesale distributors and retailers or U.S. agencies to provide them their seafood products (fresh and frozen).

We pride ourselves in our ability to not only provide premium seafood from abroad, but also to provide from the Florida waters. We have had long-term relationships with local fisherman on the Atlantic and Gulf sides of the state, as well as freshwater fisherman.  We buy local fresh and saltwater fish that are very seasonal.  We sell it fresh and freeze some so we can supply our customers all year long with seasonal type of fish.

Due to recent economic changes in the farm raised catfish industry, Stokes Fish is once again selling wild catfish to our customers.  We are processing thousands of pounds per week of the finest wild catfish Florida’s pristine lakes can provide.  In doing so we are providing work for local fisherman in Central Florida.  We are also building new niche markets for other specialized U.S. farm raised products such as whole Tilapia and Striped Bass and fresh seafood from the Gulf.  After the BP oil spill, our gulf fishing industry was devastated.  The Gulf waters have recovered and are flourishing with an abundance of wonderful seafood.  We are working very hard to promote all the seafood coming from the Gulf.  The U.S. Government and local State agencies are behind this program as well.

In 2011 seafood sales statistics show that 86% of all fresh seafood consumed in America is imported.  We feel very strongly that we need to promote whenever possible for our customers to “Buy American”.  There has been a recent movement for Americans to buy American.  More and more restaurants are promoting American seafood.  This could be something our customers may want to consider when looking to buy seafood.  Websites like are an excellent way to see what the Government, State agencies and local fisherman have created to promote their seafood.

Stokes Fish Company’s geographic distribution area extends from Florida to Columbus, Ohio to Denver, Colorado and everywhere in-between.  We are open to new opportunities as they may present themselves to us in the future.

If you are a wholesale seafood company and would like to discuss how Stokes Fish Company can help fulfill your current or future needs, please contact us.  We would be very interested in reviewing your needs for fresh whole fish, fresh cut and packaged fish and frozen products.

By owning both the seafood company and the trucking company, we sit in a unique position to offer a very competitive edge over our competitors.  We are HACCP certified and are an EEOC employer.



“By owning both the seafood company and the trucking company, we sit in a unique position to offer a very competitive edge over our competitors.”