British Columbia

Herring a hot buy in Richmond today, at annual charity sale

Wheelbarrow loads of slippery silver fish sold before sunrise on Dec. 5th in the biggest herring sale on record, with all proceeds going to help children with cancer.

'It is a bit chaotic,' said Phil Eidsvik who watched 5,000 bags of fish move in 8 hours

Volunteers attracted thousands to buy 50-60 tonnes of herring. 1:01

Wheelbarrow loads of slippery silver fish sold before sunrise on Dec. 5th in the biggest herring sale on record, with all proceeds going to help children with cancer.

"It's a bit chaotic down here," said Phil Eidsvik of Fishermen Helping Kids with Cancer.

The herring sale is one of the happiest days of my year.- Phil Eidsvik

People lined up since before 5 a.m. PT awaiting the wheelbarrows and forklift loads of herring, fresh off a boat called The Queen's Reach. Volunteers bagged 5,000 bags of herring for buyers.

Eidsvik says when they launched the sale four years ago they wondered if anybody even ate herring anymore.

In 2011 they sold out by noon, and have sold more and more fish each year. This year was the biggest sale yet.

"It's a wonderful fish if you barbecue it or bake it or fry it," said Eidsvik.

And for $10 for 20 pounds of fresh fish, with all proceeds going to the B.C. Children's Hospital Foundation, he says it's a deal that people get up early for.

Volunteer Andrea Eidsvik says fishermen went out in 'questionable' conditions and caught 50 tonnes of fish for the herring sale. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

"We did better this year than last year and that's always a nice thing, especially in the fishing industry," said Eidsvik, whose voice was almost drowned out by seagulls and forklifts at the bustling dock.

"The herring sale is one of the happiest days of my year."

He estimates they have raised $350,000 since 2011 and today he says they moved 50-60 tonnes of the diminutive fish.

Donations are used to make hospital life more bearable for children and teenagers who have cancer.

A volunteer helps load herring for the annual sale to help children and teens with cancer. (Doug Kerr/CBC )

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