Salmon producers, canners donate 27,000kg of fish to Canadian food banks

Salmon producers in western Canada are donating thousands of kilos of canned and fresh fish to local food banks to help people hit by coronavirus.

Cermaq Canada, Grieg Seafood BC, Mowi Canada West, Creative Salmon and Golden Eagle Aquaculture are responding to a call from Food Banks BC for aid. The British Columbia charity said the growing number of people made unemployed by the coronavirus recession is increasing demands on its services.

“This is a time for all industries to step up and support those most affected by Covid-19, and that’s exactly what BC’s salmon farmers are doing,” said John Paul Fraser, executive director with local industry group, the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association. “Working with Food Banks BC, we’re delighted to partner with BC-based businesses to can, process and transport fresh BC farm-raised salmon, providing families with healthy protein produced here in the province.”

Canmakers and fillers, as key industries allowed to remain in operation during virus-taming lockdowns, have turned their manufacturing to provide food and supplies to hard-hit populations. The pandemic has decimated economies, putting millions of people out of work as lockdowns reduce business activity. By May, about seven million Canadians, a fifth of the population, were claiming assistance. 

Cermaq and Grieg have pledged to hand the charity 86,000 cans of salmon packed by local canner St. Jean’s Cannery & Smokehouse. Golden Eagle and Creative Salmon will also donate canned fish. Mowi will distribute 453kg of fresh salmon each week. 

The total amount of fish pledged equates to about 27,200kg of food, enough to provide 200,000 meals, the association said.

“In some instances, numbers have already doubled and we’re seeing line ups grow longer, yet food donations are down,” said Food Banks BC executive director Laura Lansink. “Some people who were donors are now food bank recipients. It’s a very stressful situation for our food banks and we anticipate we will feel the repercussions of this for one or two years into the future.”