Salmon glut provides feast for US homeless

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The Independent US

Not so long ago, coho salmon was the great rallying cry of the environmentalist movement in the western United States, a species so endangered that it brought vast logging projects in California and Oregon to a halt and triggered fraught political battles over the future of hydro-electric dams.

Not so long ago, coho salmon was the great rallying cry of the environmentalist movement in the western United States, a species so endangered that it brought vast logging projects in California and Oregon to a halt and triggered fraught political battles over the future of hydro-electric dams.

But this year is a little different. There is suddenly so much coho on the world market – mainly because of fish farming in Latin America – that prime cuts of the delicate fish are being served to the homeless.

In Oregon, the state with the highest malnutrition rates in the country, homeless shelters are expecting as much as 400,000lbs (181,500kg) of salmon this winter thanks to a recently announced programme from the state Fish and Wildlife Service.

The first batches of coho have already arrived, and it seems they are going down extremely well.

"People really are just delighted to have something... that people pay a lot of money for in a fancy restaurant," a spokesman for the Portland Food Bank, Steve Randolph, told a local radio station.

At the St Francis dining hall in Portland, the largest city in Oregon, one cook is already relishing the prospect of dishing up his coho and other salmon varieties with fresh hollandaise sauce.

"I believe that everybody should have a chance to eat as good as possible," said the cook, Harry Goodwin.

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