BC Salmon farmers, who have seen a decrease in demand for their products in restaurants, which are shut down in Canadian and American markets, will be donating 60,000 pounds of salmon to food banks in B.C.
The donations of farmed salmon from Cermaq Canada, Grieg Seafood BC, Mowi Canada West, Creative Salmon and Golden Eagle Aquaculture equals about 200,000 servings. Aquatrans Distributors Inc. is donating its trucking service to get some of the fish to canneries.
The donations come at a time when demand on food banks has increased dramatically, due to all the job losses resulting from businesses being shut down under the pandemic state of emergency.
“I have been with Food Banks BC for almost a decade and I have never received a donation like this before,” said Laura Lansink, executive director of Food Banks BC.
“Protein donations truly are hard to come by, so we are so grateful to BC salmon farmers for stepping up, particularly at this time of COVID-19 when food, and especially protein, is in such short supply.
“In some instances, numbers have already doubled and we’re seeing lineups grow longer, yet food donations are down. Some people who were donors are now food bank recipients."
Some of the fish is being donated fresh to local foods banks in Campbell River and Port Hardy. But a bulk of the donations will be canned.
“Mowi is donating salmon locally on an ongoing weekly basis to the local food banks, and the other companies are donating a big, one-time donation,” said Shawn Hall, a spokesperson for the BC Salmon Farmers Association. “It’s all being canned and shipped to food banks across the province.”
The wholesale closure of so many restaurants in Canada and the U.S. has had an impact on markets.
“The restaurant industry demand has really declined, of course, but retail demand has remained strong,” Hall said. “It hasn’t made up for the reduction in the restaurant industry, but it certainly helps.”