Marilyn Hutchinson (left), Director of Indigenous and Community Relations for Grieg Seafood BC, safely standing beside Linda Sams (right), Sustainable Development Director for Cermaq Canada. Photo courtesy BC Salmon Farmers Association

Salmon farmers partner with Food Banks Canada to donate equivalent of 272,000 meals

Today the BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) announced a new national salmon donation initiative with Food Banks Canada to feed Canadian families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Together Cermaq Canada and Grieg Seafood BC are donating 60,000 pounds of salmon (contents of 120,000 cans) to Food Banks Canada’s national hamper distribution initiative to assist with the demands on food banks due to the ongoing pandemic.

In April, salmon farmers partnered with Food Banks BC to produce and distribute 86,000 cans of salmon across the province. The donation was so well received that Food Banks Canada approached BCSFA to partner for a national donation of salmon to make further cans.

“When we saw the BC salmon farmers’ generous donation to Food Banks BC in April, we reached out to BCSFA to see if we could work together on a national project,” says Chris Hatch, Chief Executive officer for Food Banks Canada. “Protein donations are hard to come by, especially since COVID-19, where protein has become short in supply. Shelf-stable healthy protein is highly desired by food banks, but often the least donated because it’s expensive.”

Before the pandemic, Canadians visited food banks nearly 1.1 million times a month across the nation, and an increased demand is expected to last beyond the pandemic as the economy slowly bounces back.

“We knew we had to find a way to make something happen, so we would like to thank both Grieg and Cermaq for stepping up and filling this need,” says John Paul Fraser, Executive Director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. “Canned salmon isn’t a product we normally produce, so this is truly a tailor-made product for food banks.”

The pandemic has seen food banks and other businesses shift towards pre-packaged, shelf-stable foods that require less volunteer or client handling of products.

This national BC salmon farmers’ donation includes:

  • 60,000lbs of Atlantic salmon (or contents of approx. 120,000 cans): Cermaq and Grieg each donated 30,000 lbs of fresh Atlantic salmon, which has been processed and canned by St. Jean’s Cannery & Smokehouse in Nanaimo. This will produce 120,000 cans to Food Banks Canada to be added to hampers in Toronto, ON and distributed throughout the country.
  • Transportation: Aquatrans Distributors Inc. and Seaspan Ferries Corp are donating their costs to transport the product within BC.
  • Processing. The processing and canning costs are covered in part via an investment through the Government of Canada’s Local Food Infrastructure Fund emergency funding.

Together, with BC salmon farmers’ previous donations to Food Banks BC, this brings total salmon donations equivalent to over half a million meals to Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are truly thankful to BC salmon farmers’ for answering our call,” says Hatch. “This donation will feed thousands of Canadians in need this summer.”

Quick Facts:

· In April, BC salmon farmers partnered with Food Banks BC to produce and distribute 86,000 cans of salmon across the province. Out of this initial canned salmon donation, Cermaq supplied 62,000 cans, and Grieg donated 24,000.

· In this new donation, the salmon donated by Grieg and Cermaq will be distributed to food banks across the country starting at the end of June.

· Aquatrans Distributors Inc and Seaspan Ferries Corp are donating transportation costs

· The processing and canning costs are covered in part via an investment through the Government of Canada’s Local Food Infrastructure Fund emergency funding

· BC salmon farmers’ total salmon donations are equivalent to over half a million meals to Canadians since the COVID-19 pandemic

· Food Banks Canada supports a unique network of over 3,000 food related organizations in every province and territory.

· Food Banks Canada typically supports about 800,000 Canadians each month.

· More than one-third of food bank recipients are under 18 years old.

· Properly stored, canned salmon has a shelf life of three to five years.

RELATED: B.C. salmon farmers donate 60,000 pounds of canned salmon to food banks

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