Joshua Duncan can’t stand seeing people go hungry when there are so many extra fish.
On Saturday, Aug. 23, the Campbell River fisherman donated 500 sockeye salmon to the residents of a homeless encampment along with some Friendship centres and women’s centres in the Downtown Eastside area of Vancouver, known as one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Canada. And he’s been sending more every time he can.
“I’m usually one of the first boats out, and I have a lot of contracts,” Duncan said by phone as he was dropping off another load of Sockeye in Richmond at a fish plant. “When I do these food fish, these bands are paying for this fish to be caught, and a lot of these struggling folks [in Vancouver] are from these bands or others.
“Some of them haven’t had fish in years, and it’s heartbreaking.”
He said he’s talked to the various First Nations he fishes for, and they’re all on board and supportive of his efforts.
“I think we’ve caught something like 140,000 sockeye this year,” he said. “I’m not charging anyone for the extra ones, but I’m not letting them go to waste, that’s for sure.”
Since news has gotten out about Duncan’s efforts, various people have stepped up to volunteer for canning, cooking and donating time to do the work, as well.
“I’m kind of surprised nobody’s done this before,” he said, somewhat taken aback by his newfound celebrity.
“I’m not trying to be Santa Claus here. I’m just trying to be a friend.”