Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Industry Pitches In to Feed Residents of St. Lawrence Island

Residents of St. Lawrence Island, way out west of Nome, Alaska, in the Bering Sea, are scheduled to get a big holiday gift this year – 40,000 pounds of canned salmon from five seafood processors donating some 8,000 pounds each.

The island residents – some 681 residents of Gambell and 671 residents of Savoonga – had a poor subsistence walrus hunting season – a hunt critical to the island’s food supply and cash economy.

Pacific Seafood Processors Association decided to help out. Trident Seafoods Peter Pan Seafoods, Alaska General Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Seafoods and Icicle Seafoods are providing enough canned salmon to fill a 40-foot container.

Salmon Terminals donated the labeling, packaging and costs associated with loading and delivering the container and Horizon has donated the transportation of the container from Tacoma to Kodiak. The container is scheduled to depart on Dec. 4 and arrive at Kodiak by Dec. 9.

Logistics of getting that container on up north to St. Lawrence Island are still in the works, said Glenn Reed, president of PSPA.

The nonprofit seafood trade association is not looking for recognition for this effort. Said Reed, “We just wanted to help out, get some food to people.”

Reed said that it was brought to the attention of one of PSPA’s members that there was a crisis in the two communities on St. Lawrence Island because of a poor walrus hunt, which provides food and also ivory critical to the island’s cash economy.

“It was brought up at one of our board meetings, and people said ‘well, let’s help out’,” Reed said.

“All of our members work in isolated small communities,” he said. “We understand that things happen that put people in a jam.”

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