• Sitka’s ‘Fish To Schools’ program puts out call to commercial fishermen for donations

Fishermen_Donation_Updated Aug2013

The Fish To Schools program in Sitka has put out the call looking for donations of commercially caught fish for the upcoming school year. Donations are being accepted from Aug. 18-25 at Sitka Sound Seafoods and Seafood Producers Cooperative. (NOTE, the time period for donations has been extended. Please call the numbers below to see if more fish still is needed.)

SCS-031_smFishToSchoolsTacoThe Sitka Fish To Schools project (click here to see short video) got its start as a community wellness project at the 2010 Sitka Health Summit, and now is managed by the Sitka Conservation Society. It started by providing a monthly fish dish as part of the school lunch as Blatchley Middle School, and since then has grown to feature regular fish dishes as part of the lunch programs at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, Blatchley Middle School, Sitka High School, Pacific High School (where the alternative high school students cook the meals themselves) and Mount Edgecumbe High School.

In addition to serving locally caught fish meals as part of the school lunch program, the Fish To Schools program also brings local fishermen, fisheries biologists and chefs to the classroom to teach the kids about the importance of locally caught fish in Sitka. The program received an innovation award from the Alaska Farm To Schools program during a community celebration dinner in May 2012, and now serves as a model for other school districts from coastal fishing communities.

Due to state regulations, the Sitka Fish To Schools program can only accept donations of fish that have been commercially caught, and it cannot accept fish from sport or subsistence fishermen. The donation period is timed with the coho salmon season, and fishermen can get more information or pledge a donation by contacting Beth Short-Rhodes at 738-9942 or elianise@yahoo.com.

For more information about the Fish To Schools program, contact Tracy Gagnon at the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509 or tracy@sitkawild.org.