“Fish to Dish” Program Kicks Off
Supporting Local Families and Businesses
The “Fish to Dish” program, which supports Hawai‘i’s longline fishing industry and distributes fresh fish to communities across the island of Oʻahu, kicked off this week.
“As we all do our part to make Oahu COVID-safe for one another, we must also take bold steps toward economic recovery and revitalization,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “The way we rebuild is by constantly asking ourselves how we can better use the resources and abilities of our own people to help each other in this time of great need. ‘Fish to Dish’ is one way that the City and County of Honolulu is adapting to the ever-changing crisis and acting on the best ideas.”
The “Fish” portion of the program will provide CARES Act funds to more than 140 vessels of the Hawai‘i Longline Association. The Association will distribute the funds to help cover vessel operating fees over a three-month period. The fishing industry is one of many local sectors that have been hit hard by the severe downturn in customer demand that resulted from the COVID-19 crisis. Fishing boats who are part of the program will then deliver fish to the Honolulu fish auction for purchase.
At the fish auction, the Hawai‘i Seafood Council will initiate the “Dish” part of the program by purchasing over 100,000 pounds of fish fillet that will be turned into 350,000 servings. These fillets will be provided to the Hawai‘i Foodbank to distribute through its partner organizations. Prepared fish will be served to kupuna and other hungry families across Oʻahu for five months.
This part of the program is especially critical due to the spike in food insecurity being experienced by the people of Hawai‘i during this pandemic.
“The partnerships in this program give me so much confidence that we will win the fight against COVID-19,” said Mayor Caldwell. “My thanks the Hawai‘i Longline Association, Hawai‘i Seafood Council, Hawai‘i Foodbank and its partner organizations, and all the government employees who worked so hard to build this program to help so many across our island. This is what we can achieve when we work together as one community.”
In addition to “Fish to Dish,” the City and County of Honolulu recently made small commercial fishermen eligible for its Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund applicant pool. Furthermore, the State of Hawai‘i has agreed to pick up funding support for the Hawai‘i Longline Association after the initial three-month period funded by the City and County of Honolulu. Together, these policies will help the critically important Hawaii fishing industry during this economic downturn and, at the same time, will help supply fresh fish to the people of Oʻahu through the end of this year.
More information about the Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund can be found at www.oneoahu.org/small-business. For information about receiving food assistance from the Hawaii Foodbank, please visit www.hawaiifoodbank.org.