February 3, 2023 – Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI)
From the people of Alaska to the people of Ukraine
In the FY 2023 Capital Budget, the Alaska State Legislature and Governor 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 the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (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 lbs) 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 3840 cases (24 cans/14.75 oz 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 January 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+ 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.