With huge runs of salmon returning to fish hatcheries along the Columbia River, surplus fish will feed hungry Oregonians.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has contracted with Bellingham, Wash., company American/Canadian Fisheries Inc., to process thousands of surplus salmon into ready-to-cook fillets. The fish will provide much-needed protein in emergency food boxes distributed by Oregon Food Bank in every county.

In exchange, American/Canadian receives the offal from the salmon production for use in pet food production.

"It's one of those rare deals where everybody wins," said American/Canadian Projects Manager Garrett H. Reynolds.

Last year - the project's first year - 130,000 pounds of salmon reached needy Oregonians, Oregon Food Bank food resource developer Carolyn Brown said.

More than 650,000 Oregonians received an emergency food box at least once last year, she said.

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