US government seeking to buy nearly 6 million pounds of catfish

Fresh catfish on ice.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking to buy 5.96 million pounds of frozen catfish fillets for use in domestic food distribution programs and is asking the seafood industry to submit bids.

This is the department’s third major catfish purchase in 2023, following the purchase of 6.2 million pounds of unbreaded catfish fillets that totaled USD 41.8 million (EUR 38 million) in March.

At that time, the USDA awarded six contracts for catfish: USD 501,600 (EUR 473,000) to Alabama Catfish; USD 13.9 million (EUR 13 million) to America’s Catch; USD 5.6 million (EUR 5,3 million) to Consolidated Catfish Companies; USD 11.6 million (EUR 11 million) to Heartland Catfish Company; USD 9.7 million (EUR 9.2 million) to Ocean Select Seafood, and USD 528,200 (EUR 498,000) to Simmons Farm-Raised Catfish.

In May, the USDA asked for bids on 470,000 pounds of catfish and 1.2 million pounds of Alaska pollock.

The Alaska pollock went toward providing nutritious meals for the USDA’s National School Lunch Program. The department is looking for both frozen Alaska pollock fillets and fish sticks.

The agency did not specify which domestic food distribution program the 470,000 pounds of catfish went toward, but the department was looking for both catfish fillets and oven-ready catfish strips.

Bids on this round of catfish are due by 1 p.m. Central Standard Time on 1 November, and the USDA will announce accepted bids on 6 November.

For the current bids, seafood industry companies wishing to submit a bid must do so electronically via the USDA’s web-based supply chain management system (WBSCM). 

“Offerors must be active in WBSCM and have the required bidder roles to submit offers under this solicitation,” the USDA said in the notice.

Those who have questions on the solicitation should contact the contracting officer for the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service’s Commodity Procurement Program within the Proteins, Grains, and Oilseeds Procurement Division at +1 (816) 560-3130.

Photo courtesy of Heartland Catfish


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