SeaShare, the Seattle-based nonprofit organization dedicated to improving nutrition for people served by food banks and feeding centers, recently delivered 13,000 pounds of frozen halibut for distribution to 11 villages in Northwest Alaska.
The catch was caught incidentally by trawl fishermen in the Gulf of Alaska and provided to SeaShare by Ocean Beauty Seafoods.
“Kodiak fishermen work hard to avoid bycatch, but when they get it they want to see these valuable fish utilized,” said Jim Harmon, executive director of SeaShare. “That’s how SeaShare was started 20 years ago, to provide a network to feed hungry families with fish that would otherwise be thrown overboard.
Harmon said fishermen did a great job handling and delivering these fish, and that six processing plants in Kodiak cleaned, packaged, froze and stored the fish for SeaShare. Local food banks take what they can, and when we receive more fish than Kodiak needs, SeaShare works to find freight and storage partners to help us reach other communities, he said.
In this particular scenario, SeaShare worked with the US Coast Guard and NANA Regional Corp., the regional Alaska Native corporation for Northwest Alaska, to get the fish to Kotzebue and 10 other villages in Northwest Alaska, he said.
Elders get fish first, with the balance going to families according to need.
In addition to volunteers from NANA and FBX Aviation Services, the Coast Guard flight crew helped unload, then reload the halibut on the various pallets and trucks, Harmon said.
Since 1994, SeaShare has provided over 150 million meals to Feeding America’s food bank network. Lean more about SeaShare at www.seashare.org