NOAA Fisheries renews prohibited species donation permits for SeaShare

NOAA Fisheries announced in mid-May the renewal of two prohibited species donation permits to SeaShare, allowing the Washington-based nonprofit to distribute Pacific salmon and halibut to hunger relief agencies, food bank networks or food bank distributors.

The salmon and halibut are caught incidentally to directed fishing by trawlers in the Bering Sea, who catch salmon and halibut while they are in pursuit of groundfish. NOAA officials said renewal of the permits is necessary to comply with provisions of the Prohibited Species Donation program and is intended to promote goals and objectives of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

SeaShare has been receiving these permits for Pacific salmon and halibut since 1994, said Jim Harmon, executive director of SeaShare. 

The current list of participants in the program includes 12 shoreside processors, 31 catcher processors, four mother ships and 140 catcher vessels. Harmon estimates that these permits have resulted in distribution by SeaShare of 26 million servings of seafood to food banks and feeding centers. He said that’s about 10% of their total volume since 1994.

“The National Marine Fisheries Service staff we work with are proud of the program and work to keep it, and us, up to date,” Harmon said. “We appreciate the relationship that we have with the staff at NMFS who maintain these permits.”

SeaShare officials note that getting the fish from the ocean to food banks can be a complex and costly process, which requires a lot of collaborative effort of more than 200 entities who have signed on to volunteer to make this happen. The group ranges from processors to harvesters and many others in the fisheries and transportation businesses. SeaShare leverages its network to allow the industry to give on a scale that can only be achieved through a collective effort.


SeaShare has a long-standing collaboration with Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Through that connection SeaShare is able to joint forces for delivery of portions of feed, and also receive donations nationwide.