Kai Ika project donating fish to whānau struggles with demand

7:28 pm on 28 August 2020

A not-for-profit which donates fish parts from commercial fishers to families in need has called for help to meet the growing demand in Auckland.

Factory worker sorting fish.

Factory worker sorting fish. Photo: 123rf

Run by LegaSea, the Kai Ika project takes fish heads and other fish parts usually thrown away by commercial fishers and donates them to families looking to put food on the table.

The project operates from five marae in Tamaki Makaurau and its general manager Sam Woolford said there had been a massive surge in demand.

"With the first lockdown we had unemployment grow quite dramatically and so too did pressure on the project - so we went from about 250 kilos a week through to 1250 kilos a week of kaimoana that we were sharing with the community."

"Unfortunately, because we haven't seen unemployment drop, that pressure hasn't reduced on the Kai Ika project either and now with our second level 3 lockdown, we've seen the pressure jump up again."

He said while they had plenty of supply and demand, averaging 1500 kilos a week currently, the administration costs had also increased.

"We're in the really distressing position now of actually having to turn people away and the best thing we can do is tell them to come back tomorrow but come back a little bit earlier."

"We've got supply and we've got demand [but] we're the pinch point - we're the ones that are slowing it down because we can't scale up fast enough."

Kai Ika have also started a crowd-funding campaign where people can choose to purchase a meal for five, 10 or 15 families.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs