May 26, 1965
Mr. R. V. Turner
Florida State Prison
Under separate cover we are sending you two samples of canned Florida mullet, one packed in vegetable broth, the other in salt brine. We would like for you to open these and eat just as they are, then furnish us comments about what you think of the product. So far, the opinion of everyone concerned has been that we now have a canned mullet product superior to tuna and salmon.
The canning plant responsible for this product is in the process of erection in the Miami area at the present time and will be in production on a large enough scale to furnish any demand that we might have by September 15, 1965. These people are in sound financial condition and do have the technical knowledge and equipment to produce this fine quality product and help us promote it on a permanent basis. They intend to process this same quality merchandise in a 66-once industrial pack, competitive to the lowest priced tuna in price-about 45₵ a pound.
We are giving you this little advanced preview of this new Florida product, where by you may be able to save your orders for canned seafood for the last quarter of this calendar year. We would also like to know, without any commitments or obligations to purchase, about how many pounds you may be able to use
State Archives of Florida: Series 1159, Box 01, Folder 5
This letter was written by Harmon W. Shields, Director of marketing for the Florida Board of Conservation to R.V. Turner at the Florida State Prison at Raiford. The Florida Board of Conservation had been attempting to reform the public image of mullet by renaming it "lisa." The hope was that this would allow the Florida seafood industry to begin canning and marketing the fish to customers nationwide as an alternative to canned tuna and salmon. Mullet had a reputation as a "trash fish" in most areas outside of Florida, hence the desire to rename it. "Lisa" was a name given to some species of mullet by Spanish-speaking fishermen. In this letter, Shields explains to Turner that he is sending samples of the canned lisa to the Florida State Prison, and he wants Turner and his associates to try the product and comment on its quality. He describes the possibility that a cannery in Miami will soon be producing canned lisa on a large scale, such that institutions like the Florida State Prison might be able to use it. Shields expresses the hope that being able to market the fish more widely will solve the problem of the mullet market being glutted.
May 26, 1965