A collaborative effort between six seafood processors and the nonprofit SeaShare on Bainbridge Island, Washington is resulting in the donation of about 49,000 pounds of frozen king and chum salmon to Lower Yukon River residents who are banned from fishing this summer on a commercial or subsistence level because of low salmon runs.
SeaShare, a strategic partner of food banks nationwide, said that the donation was from Silver Bay Seafoods, Alaska General Seafoods, Leader Creek Fisheries, OBI Seafoods, North Pacific Seafoods and Trident Seafoods.
The donations come in the wake of a record-breaking harvest season in Bristol Bay, with harvesters delivering over 59 million fish to processors. The overall statewide catch through Tuesday, Aug. 2, totaled over 110 million salmon, including 71.6 million sockeyes, 31.4 million pink, 7 million chum, 340,000 coho and 198,000 Chinooks.
Transport of all 49,000 pounds of these kings and chums Emmonak, on the Lower Yukon is being provided at no cost. Alaska Marine Lines is providing local logistics at Naknek and sending the frozen fish on to Anchorage Via Northern Air Cargo and Everts Air, after which Lynden Air will fly the fish on to Emmonak, where Kwik’Pak Seafoods will repack the fish and send boxes of frozen salmon on to Lower Yukon River villages, just as was done last year.
SeaShare is also sending another approximately 25,000 pounds of frozen salmon from Kodiak to Fairbanks later in August, thanks to donations from Silver Bay Seafoods, OBI Seafoods, Trident Seafoods and North Pacific Seafoods.
SeaShare executive director Jim Harmon said plans are to fly those fish, via the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, to Fairbanks, Alaska where the Tanana Chiefs Conference would then distribute them to villages on the middle Yukon River.
Peter Pan Seafoods, with processing facilities in Dillingham, Alaska is donating 2,000 pounds of frozen salmon directly to the Bristol Bay Native Association’s food bank in Dillingham.
SeaShare is coordinating and providing the overall record keeping for these donation events for the second year in a row, all at no cost to communities receiving the fish.