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Salish Sea Sentinel | May 17, 2024

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Seafood, especially salmon, on our menus

Seafood,  especially salmon, on our menus

The Vancouver Island Traditional Foods Conference is being hosted in late October by the tukʷaaʔatḥ (Toquaht) First Nation in Ucluelet. In 2008, Snuneymuxw First Nation hosted the first of these gatherings. A notable report from that initial conference showed how important seafood is to Indigenous people around the coast.

If there were any doubts about how vital the Aboriginal food fishery is to coastal First Nations, they were put to rest by the consumption patterns found in the traditional seafoods survey.

The study* questioned people living in five communities around Vancouver Island and discovered that:

First Nations people eat 15 times more seafood than the average Canadian

Total seafood consumption of all people surveyed averaged 60 kilograms per person per year. That equals two servings a day.

About 90 per cent of that food comes directly from the sea, not from supermarkets or restaurants.

Salmon, of course, is the number one seafood eaten in all five communities. It makes up more than half of the seafood diet in every community.

On average, 38 kg of salmon is eaten per person every year.

But there are other favourite seafoods, depending on where one lives. For example, the top five favourites in Snuneymuxw were prawns, crabs, halibut, butter clams and Manila clams. In Ahousaht the top five were halibut, Manila clams, herring eggs, butter clams and sea urchins. And on the north end of the Island, at Quatsino, the favourites were halibut, prawns, eulachon grease, rockfish and crab.

Average seafood consumption in five Vancouver Island First Nations communities.