SeaShare’s deliveries of seafood to 28 locations in 16 states, including Alaska, have reached one million pounds so far this year and another 270,00 pounds are in progress, says executive director Jim Harmon.
“We are so grateful to our industry partners and fishermen for supplying this nutritious protein for our nation’s food banks,” Harmon said in a Nov. 9 email updating the latest deliveries of the Washington state non-profit.
In October alone, SeaShare sent a truckload of Pollock, cod and salmon to Georgia just after hurricane Michael hit the region, plus two truckloads of Pollock to Missouri, and truckloads of salmon to Connecticut and Oregon food banks.
In addition to regular donations made in Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks and Kodiak, SeaShare has been adding other regional hubs to accept and distribute more seafood in Alaska. “This year we worked with freight carriers, including the U.S. Coast Guard, to send fish to Dillingham, Nome, Kotzebue and Chignik,” Harmon said. “Thirty-four communities in Western Alaska received our fish this year.”
SeaShare is also working with folks in Bethel to improve storage capacity and distribution of frozen food for the Yukon-Kuskokwim region. Matson donated a freezer, Alaska Marine Lines shipped it to Bethel’s food bank for SeaShare, and the Rasmuson Foundation paid for the electrical installation to get it up and running. SeaShare is now scheduled to send its first load of donated seafood to the Lions Club Food Bank in Bethel when the Kuskokwim River thaws next spring.
Members of the At-Sea Processors Association in Seattle donate 250,000 pounds of frozen Pollock caught in waters off of Alaska every year. This year SeaShare combined those donations with donated materials and processing from Highliner Foods and Trident Seafoods to generate 1.8 million servings of breaded, over-ready portions, packaged for food bank distribution. SeaShare is the only organization that creates partnerships like this to send more seafood to hungry families, Harmon said.
Some of the seafood items donated by SeaShare this year, with help from dozens of partnerships, include salmon steaks, breaded Pollock, cod fillets, tuna burgers, Pollock nuggets, ling cod steaks, canned salmon, halibut and sablefish steaks and salmon fillets.
SeaShare was founded by Alaska fishermen in 1994 to help the seafood industry donate to hunger-relief efforts throughout the United States.
The incentive was to take fish caught unintentionally as bycatch, which were required by law to be thrown back into the sea, and give this highly nutritious protein to food banks.
Since then SeaShare has distributed over 200 million seafood servings to those in need. More information about SeaShare, its support services and information on donating is online at www.seashare.org.