Sealife is our passion here in Southeastern Louisiana. Our livelihood, our entertainment, our very sustenance comes from the bayous, gulf and ocean which surround us. As our ancestors demonstrated – if it didn’t come out of the seas, they didn’t eat it!
Ivo Bilich and Andrew Portie have been fishing, oystering and shrimping the Gulf waters since childhood. Both their families have been working on the water for over four generations. Ivo’s great grandfather came from Croatia to work oysters, carving out an existence in the wilds of the bayou. Andrew’s ancestors perfected their shrimping knowledge after immigrating from France.
Ivo, Andrew and their families have a heartfelt commitment to Southeastern Louisiana and their home; even their wives grew up in shrimping and fishing families. Their love of the land and sea has kept them strong and committed through countless challenges. The area and their lives have been impacted multiple times over the generations; hurricanes Betsy, Camille and Katrina being the most well-known.
After the complete devastation by Katrina, both Ivo and Andrew committed to rebuilding their homes and livelihoods from the sea. Unfortunately, the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010 created another hurdle for them, as it shut down the seafood industry once again.
But, as true fishermen, they returned to the bayous and ocean to rebuild and in 2011 became business partners when Andrew became the captain of Ivo’s oyster boat.
It appears this partnership was foreshadowed early in their lives. As a child, Andrew filled an aquarium in his room with exciting finds from the bayou and to this day treasures the freedom and solitude of the open waters. Ivo’s mother will attest that she knew his destiny was to be a fisherman when he landed his first catch at age four with a Snoopy pole!
The perseverance and the love of their home and lifestyle is what has created their newest business endeavor