The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) reports that a donation of canned wild Alaska pink salmon from the state of Alaska recently arrived in Ukraine for distribution to those in need displaced by the ongoing conflict with Russia.

From the people of Alaska to the people of Ukraine

In the FY 2023 Capital Budget, the Alaska State Legislature and Gov. Mike Dunleavy committed $300,000 to purchase cans of wild Alaska pink salmon to feed and support Ukrainians whose lives were disrupted from the war with Russia.

The Legislature tasked ASMI to source, procure and coordinate the shipment and delivery of this nutritious and shelf-stable food to the region. ASMI’s Global Food Aid Program tapped into its network of food and nutrition organizations working in the humanitarian space to facilitate the purchase and distribution of what became three full containers (over 90,000 poiunds) of wild Alaska canned pink salmon.

Given the uncertain conditions in the region, ASMI partnered with World Central Kitchen (WCK), one of the few organizations cooking meals and distributing food in war zones in Ukraine and able to accept such a donation. As the conflict continues, WCK remains active in Ukraine today.

Following an established procurement process, the contract to provide the product was awarded to OBI Seafoods. OBI applied custom labels created by ASMI and, in all manner, readied the 3,840 cases (24 cans/14.75 ounces each) for shipment to Ukraine. ASMI worked with Maersk Shipping and their special operations section who made the very complicated shipping process as easy and uncomplicated as possible.

In spite of the urgent need, the humanitarian supply chain is subject to many bureaucratic hurdles. The wild Alaska canned pink salmon arrived in Gdansk, Poland, in early November after the typical journey of about six weeks. Due to a number of new international agreements, customs requirements that came into effect during the travel time to Poland, the containers remained in the Port of Gdansk until they were finally released from Polish Customs on  Jan. 30, 2023, for the quick trip to Lviv, Ukraine, by truck.

World Central Kitchen’s local partner inside the borders of Ukraine met and unloaded the containers in late January, readying them for further transport within Ukraine to locations in greatest need.

Why Alaska canned salmon?

Wild Alaska canned salmon is a perfect product for direct, family distribution for at-home use. Each of these 92,000-plus cans has a six-year shelf life, needs no refrigeration to store (unopened), cannot be affected by cold, heat or rain. It is ready to eat directly from the can, and provides high quality protein and healthy fats with no need for cooking or potable water to use. Of course, it is easily combinable with local ingredients that may be available for a tasty meal.

It is the middle of winter in Ukraine with freezing temperatures compounding the need for humanitarian aid as the invasion continues. The arrival of this food is timely, providing the refugees and displaced people of all ages in Ukraine with over 460,000 meals of nutritious wild Alaska protein.

ASMI thanks the state of Alaska, its legislature and governor for their foresight in making this donation possible. We hope to provide additional updates once the salmon has made its way to other locations in Ukraine.

Source: ASMI