Surplus Food Rescue Program provides up to $15.5 million to Canadian fish and seafood industry
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has highlighted support through the Surplus Food Rescue Program for vulnerable Canadians facing food insecurity and Canada’s fish and seafood industry. The program will purchase up to $15.5 million at the cost of production, of surplus fish and seafood which will be distributed to families in need.
The funding was announced at Clearwater Seafoods, who in partnership with the Membertou First Nation, will receive $1.49 million towards the purchase of 150,000 pounds of surplus scallops. The project will distribute high quality scallops to Indigenous households, with the Membertou First Nation leading the distribution of the product to Mi’kmaq communities in Nova Scotia and across Atlantic Canada.
In addition, Green Seafoods Ltd. will receive $55,230 through the program to rescue 24,000 pounds of frozen, cooked blue mussels. The mussels will be distributed to vulnerable populations in Nova Scotia through Feed Nova Scotia’s existing distribution network.
The innovative Surplus Food Rescue Program is a $50-million federal initiative designed to repurpose and redistribute food inventories of high volume, highly perishable surplus products falling under horticulture, meat, and fish and seafood to vulnerable Canadians, while avoiding food waste. These surpluses were created because the COVID-19 pandemic largely shut down the restaurant and hospitality industry, leaving many producers without a key market for their food commodities.
The Program awarded contributions to eight organizations who will be leveraging existing networks and food hubs, established by national food recovery agencies and companies, to bring the food to all regions of the country. The fish and seafood sector makes up approximately one third of these contributions, and will result in 2.6 million pounds of fish and seafood, including walleye, salmon, tuna sole and pollock, scallops, and blue mussels, to be purchased and distributed charity organizations and food-insecure families across Canada.