Almost six years after its incorporation in 2012, Spinion Ltd. has finally been given the green light to export both lionfish and green iguana meat.
Those involved in the project say the road to get here wasn’t easy.
“Spinion will be exporting the first batch of iguana hopefully sometime in early August, late July,” said Mike Foreman of Lion’s Den Fish Company, the exclusive distributor of Spinion products in the US.
Initially concieved to export invasive lionfish in 2012, Spinion later found an additional product in another island invader, the green iguana.
“We are anticipating doing about 4,000 pounds a month, if the human consumption market holds out,” said Mr. Foreman.
If Americans don’t take to iguana meat, he said a prototype dog biscuit has been well received by canine audiences.
“Actually we are reaching out to a contract manufacturer in United States to do a prototype cookie that we can actually get into the market,” he said.
The long and bumpy road to the first shipment, he told Cayman 27, was fraught with roadblocks, from the Department of Environmental Health in particular.
“I do realize that [The DEH] have a obligation to protect the jurisdiction of Cayman and I respect that,” said Mr. Foreman. “The issue that we have was, they were trying to enforce rules and regulations on Spinion that were not on the books in Cayman.”
And finally, in june, the DEH approved the export permit for lionfish and iguana.
“After a lot of negotiation and kind of a lot of headbutting, I think they finally realize that we were in the right and it was no longer worth fighting,” said Mr. Foreman.
He said with an almost $2M US investment to get to this point, the process has not been cheap, and certainly not small business friendly.
“It’s kind of is a little detrimental in reaching out to other small businesses to say ‘hey, come to the Cayman Islands, you know, it is great for small business,’ but it really didn’t seem like the government reached out very well to really promote, and help us achieve our goal,” he said.
Mr. Foreman told Cayman 27 Spinion’s first batch of iguana is slated for export towards the end of July or early August.
He said the first batch of lionfish is anticipated for export in September.