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CAMPBELL RIVER, B.C. – Today the BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) announced a new national salmon donation initiative with Food Banks Canada to feed Canadian families during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Together Cermaq Canada and Grieg Seafood BC are donating 60,000 pounds of salmon (contents of 120,000 cans) to Food Banks Canada’s national hamper distribution initiative to assist with the demands on food banks due to the ongoing pandemic.

In April, salmon farmers partnered with Food Banks BC to produce and distribute 86,000 cans of salmon across the province. The donation was so well received that Food Banks Canada approached BCSFA to partner for a national donation of salmon to make further cans.

“When we saw the BC salmon farmers’ generous donation to Food Banks BC in April, we reached out to BCSFA to see if we could work together on a national project,” says Chris Hatch, Chief Executive officer for Food Banks Canada. “Protein donations are hard to come by, especially since COVID-19, where protein has become short in supply. Shelf-stable healthy protein is highly desired by food banks, but often the least donated because it’s expensive.”

Before the pandemic, Canadians visited food banks nearly 1.1 million times a month across the nation, and an increased demand is expected to last beyond the pandemic as the economy slowly bounces back.

“We knew we had to find a way to make something happen, so we would like to thank both Grieg and Cermaq for stepping up and filling this need,” says John Paul Fraser, Executive Director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. “Canned salmon isn’t a product we normally produce, so this is truly a tailor-made product for food banks.”

The pandemic has seen food banks and other businesses shift towards pre-packaged, shelf-stable foods that require less volunteer or client handling of products.

This national BC salmon farmers’ donation includes:

  • 60,000lbs of Atlantic salmon (or contents of approx. 120,000 cans): Cermaq and Grieg each donated 30,000 lbs of fresh Atlantic salmon, which has been processed and canned by St. Jean’s Cannery & Smokehouse in Nanaimo. This will produce 120,000 cans to Food Banks Canada to be added to hampers in Toronto, ON and distributed throughout the country.
  • Transportation: Aquatrans Distributors Inc. and Seaspan Ferries Corp are donating their costs to transport the product within BC.
  • The processing and canning costs are covered in part via an investment through the Government of Canada’s Local Food Infrastructure Fund emergency funding.

Together, with BC salmon farmers’ previous donations to Food Banks BC, this brings total salmon donations equivalent to over half a million meals to Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are truly thankful to BC salmon farmers’ for answering our call,” says Hatch. “This donation will feed thousands of Canadians in need this summer.”


 Ryan Brush, General Manager, Aquatrans Distributors Inc. –

“It is with great pride that Aquatrans is taking part in the generous donation from Cermaq Canada and Grieg Seafood BC to feed those in need in Canada. The health qualities from Salmon are undisputed being loaded with protein and omegas. There is no better feeling than helping fellow Canadians on a large scale.”

David Kiemele, Managing Director, Cermaq Canada –

“This pandemic has affected us all, and we are proud of the way Canadians have come together as a nation to support each other. We are pleased to be able to share our healthy, sustainably grown and harvested salmon for families and individuals across Canada to help ensure they have access to nutritious, Canadian grown food,” says David Kiemele, Managing Director for Cermaq Canada. “We would like to thank the BC Salmon Farmers Association and Food Bank Canada for organizing the donation, and to Nuu-chah-nulth Seafoods, the owners of St. Jean’s Cannery and Smokehouse, for canning our salmon to ensure it could be easily shared and distributed.”

Rocky Boschman, Managing Director, Grieg Seafood BC –

“When Food Banks Canada reached out to the BC Salmon Farmers Association to participate in this national initiative, there was no doubt that Grieg would contribute canned salmon again, alongside our friends at Cermaq,” says Rocky Boschman, Managing Director of Grieg Seafood BC. “We know how hard people have been hit during this pandemic, so getting healthy, canned salmon to homes across the country is one thing we can do as salmon farmers to help.”

Doug Jesson, Commercial Manager, Lower Mainland, Seaspan Ferries Corp –

“Seaspan Ferries is proud to support Aquatrans and BC Salmon Farmers’ with the donation of multiple ferry drop trailer services between SFC’s Duke Point Terminal and Tilbury on the Lower Mainland. We anticipate that this tremendous kind act by all concerned will be well received by the Food Banks Canada’s food hamper program and on behalf of Seaspan Group we are pleased to be a part of the event.”

 Quick Facts:

  • In April, BC salmon farmers partnered with Food Banks BC to produce and distribute 86,000 cans of salmon across the province. Out of this initial canned salmon donation, Cermaq supplied 62,000 cans, and Grieg donated 24,000.
  • In this new donation, the salmon donated by Grieg and Cermaq will be distributed to food banks across the country starting at the end of June.
  • Aquatrans Distributors Inc and Seaspan Ferries Corp are donating transportation costs
  • The processing and canning costs are covered in part via an investment through the Government of Canada’s Local Food Infrastructure Fund emergency funding
  • Food Banks Canada supports a unique network of over 3,000 food related organizations in every province and territory.
  • Food Banks Canada typically supports about 800,000 Canadians each month.
  • More than one-third of food bank recipients are under 18 years old.
  • Properly stored, canned salmon has a shelf life of three to five years.

For Media inquiries:

Michelle Franze

Manager of Communications, Partnerships and Community


  1. Marilyn Hutchinson (left), Director of Indigenous and Community Relations for Grieg Seafood BC, safely standing beside Linda Sams (right), Sustainable Development Director for Cermaq Canada proudly holding BC raised farmed Atlantic salmon cans in Campbell River, BC.
  2. Stacked Grieg Seafood BC (left) and Cermaq Canada (right) salmon cans side by side.
  3. St. Jeans Cannery and Smokehouse team member, in Aquatrans Distributors Inc truck while the cans are being loaded from St. Jean’s Cannery and Smokehouse in Nanaimo, BC. Photo was taken in April 2020 during the first canned salmon donation to Food Banks BC.