A freezer van full of fish is portside again at Dillingham, this time filled with 7,000 pounds of Alaska pollock patties. It’s the third fish van in a year from SeaShare that brings seafood destined for needy families throughout the region. Director Jim Harmon –
“ Now distributes about 200,000 pounds of seafood to needy Alaskans. But it’s very hard to reach some of the western Alaska communities because of transportation coordination and it just gets really expensive. Last year sea share purchased a freezer container and filled it with frozen Seafood in Seattle and shipped it north on AML barge to Dillingham and we installed it at the port there.”
SeaShare sets the logistical framework for food bank networks around the nation to distribute fish to hungry Americans. Harmon says at Dillingham, a true partnership is what’s pulled it off.
“Bristol Bay Economic Development Council were the champions that helped pull this together. They issued a grant to pay for the labor Bristol Bay Native Association needed to coordinate the downstream distribution for us. Peter Pan came through, Ocean Beauty has made donations. It’s community helping community.”
The first two Dillingham shipments were salmon; the van tied up there now holds frozen, four ounce portions of Alaska pollock.
“Pollock is the biggest fish in the world that nobody knows about. It’s just whitefish. And it’s not something we normally send to Alaska but we work with At-Sea Processors Association every year and they donate 250,000 pounds of whitefish blocks. We have those converted into breaded portions.”
Harmon says Bethel is the next Western Alaska seafood hub SeaShare is eyeing.
“I don’t know if they’ll need a container or if they’ll need something else – a lot of these coastal communities fish, and they ship all the fish out. And then they import expensive food that, if it’s frozen, has to be air freighted out there, it goes as bypass mail, which is very expensive. So if we can help them with a distribution framework by putting a freezer there then we can ship things in surface freight rather than air, and we can ship larger quantities and let them distribute it to outlying communities.”