In April, seafood buyers across Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska received an invitation to bid on a job that involves purchasing and then picking up surplus salmon carcasses and eggs from state-run hatcheries in Washington.

“Just trying to drum up more business,” said Mark Kimbel, with the Washington Department of Fish Wildlife’s hatcheries support section.

For years, the Bellingham-based seafood company American Candadian Fisheries, Inc. has won the state contract and disposed of upwards of 750,000 excess fish. The quality and usefulness of the surplus varies and while some are destined to be filleted and sent to food banks, others will simply be returned to streams so their decomposing bodies can release nutrients back to the water. Some are rendered into pet food and many female salmon carcasses may be stripped for their eggs, which are then sold.

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