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EXOTIC AMAZON FISH MAKE EXCLUSIVE U.S. DEBUT IN CLEVELAND Move over Roughy, Tilapia, Mahi-Mahi, and Swordfish

 CLEVELAND, Nov. 23 ~PRNewswire~ -- The first shipment of fish ever commercially imported into the United States from the remote regions of the Amazon will be arriving here today on their way to some of the area's finest restaurants and selected markets.
 Several thousand pounds of little known species with lyrical Indian names -- Tucunare, Pirarucu, and Tambaqui -- are being flown in by a newly formed local firm launching an international venture that will put Cleveland at the head table in the world of seafood dining, ahead of New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston.
 It will be the first time that consumers anywhere in the United States will be able to buy the fish that have been enjoyed for centuries in the small towns and villages in the jungles and floodplains of Brazil and only more recently introduced on the menus of some of the finest restaurants in Rio, Sao Paulo and Brasilia.
 When the first shipment arrives by plane this afternoon after its 4,500-mile trek, it will mark the beginning of a remarkable new business venture for a Cleveland entrepreneur who "discovered" the fish almost a year a go and who has spent most of the time since then almost single- handedly trying to get them here.
 Jeffrey Allyn Moats, 39, a Chagrin Falls native who began his professional career in Hollywood more than 15 years ago as an assistant director, now directs the activities of Kapok International, Inc., a company which he named for one of the huge trees that dominate the Amazon rainforest. In laying the groundwork for Kapok, he has worked with representatives of the World Bank, various U.S. agencies, the government of Amazonas and other Brazilian states, the federal government of Brazil, commercial fishing companies along the Amazon and its tributaries, and wholesalers and distributors of fish in Cleveland and in Toronto. He is also in discussions with international environmental organizations and scientists to try to identify specific projects in the Amazon that would be funded in whole or in part by proceeds form the fish business.
 Moats travels to Brazil regularly, and he is currently working with established companies there who catch and process the fish. He is also involved in negotiations to purchase his own processing facilities near Manuaus, and he has toured several sites in different regions where he may develop fish farms. Accomplishing those objectives would enable him to begin importing quantities large enough to sell directly to the general public through supermarkets.
 The fish slated for introduction vary dramatically in size, texture and taste. The large Piraracu, which weighs 80 pounds or more, is cut into thick, meaty steaks and fillets that have taste somewhere between veal and pork. The tacunare has been likened to walleye, and the 70- pound Tambaqui, whose flood-season diet consists of fruits, nuts and seeds from submerged trees, has large ribs that look like and taste like pork ribs when prepared.
 Chefs from some of Cleveland's top restaurants have prepared the fish at private tastings over the last several weeks, and more than 20 have placed orders and will feature the fish on their menus when shipments begin.
 Those restaurants include, Sammy's, the Watermark, Gamekeeper's Tavern, Burgess Grand Cafe, Piccolo Mondo, Johnny's, Swamp Club, Swingos Silver Quill, the Theatrical, Z's, Cleveland Athletic Club, Bass Lake Inn and the Hunt Club.
 -0- 11~23~92
 ~CONTACT: Andrew Juniewicz of William Silverman and Company, 216-696-7750, for Kapok International~

CO: Kapok International ST: Ohio IN: FOD SU:

BM -- CL013 -- 0481 11~23~92 11:38 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 23, 1992

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