A record harvest 219 million pink salmon has spurred the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to develop more markets quickly for these humpies.
The ASMI board, meeting in Anchorage in late October, directed staff and committees involved in marketing these fish domestically and internationally to come up with plans to increase domestic retail and food service, as well as international outlets for pink salmon, from canned to frozen headed and gutted and frozen fillets.
ASMI is planning to spend an additional $1.5 million on this effort said Kevin Adams, chairman of the board of the state’s seafood marketing entity.
Included in that $1.5 million budget will be some funds for ASMI’s Alaska global food aid program, headed by Bruce Schactler of Kodiak, which promotes the proteins found in wild Alaska pink salmon, as well as herring, in its current programs.
The global food aid program assists non-governmental organizations and others with program design, ration selection, recipe development, storage, handling and preparation of dishes integrating canned salmon and other food aid commodities with local ingredients to feed cultural tastes. The program also conveniently provides needed markets in years of abundant pink salmon harvests.
To date the global food aid program has partnered with non-governmental organizations in Bolivia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Jamaica, Laos and Uganda to incorporate canned Alaska pink salmon and now canned herring into meals appealing to residents of these countries.
Federal programs currently using wild Alaska canned salmon include the US Department of Agriculture’s domestic school lunch program, Women, Infants & Children Nutrition (WIC) and other domestic programs; the McGovern Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, and Food for Progress; the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Food for Peace Program.