USDA announces plans to buy more Alaska pollock and catfish

Fish sticks made from Alaska pollock.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture wants to purchase up to 470,000 pounds of catfish and 1.2 million pounds of Alaska pollock for use in domestic food distribution programs.

The Alaska pollock will be used for the USDA's National School Lunch Program. The department is looking for both frozen Alaska pollock fillets and fish sticks, with bids due 17 May. The USDA will announce the contract awards by midnight on 23 May. 

USDA did not specify which domestic food distribution program the 470,000 pounds of catfish will go to, although the department is looking for both catfish fillets and oven-ready catfish strips. Those bids are due 15 May, with announcements expected by 22 May.

Deliveries for both sets of bids will take place between 1 July and the end of the calendar year.

This will be the department’s second major catfish purchase in 2023, following the purchase of 6.2 million pounds of unbreaded catfish fillets for USD 41.8 million (EUR 38 million) in March. The department awarded six contracts for catfish: USD 501,600 (EUR 456,823) to Alabama Catfish; USD 13.9 million (EUR 12.7 million) to America’s Catch; USD 5.6 million (EUR 5 million) to Consolidated Catfish Companies; USD 11.6 million (EUR 10.6 million) to Heartland Catfish Company; USD 9.7 million (EUR 8.8 million) to Ocean Select Seafood, and USD 528,200 (EUR 480,983) to Simmons Farm Raised Catfish.

U.S. producers reported cumulative total sales of USD 447 million (EUR 418 million) for 2022, a 5 percent increase over the prior year.

The USDA has awarded contracts for three other seafood solicitations this calendar year.

In January, the department awarded two contracts for salmon products: USD 6.4 million (EUR 5.8 million) to Obi Seafoods and USD 1.7 million (EUR 1.5 million) to Silver Bay Seafoods.

In March, the USDA awarded three more contracts for salmon products: USD 758,693 (EUR 690,872) to OBI Seafoods; USD 3.5 million (EUR 3.2 million) to Silver Bay Seafoods, and USD 183,920 (EUR 167,468) to Trident Seafoods.

Also in March, the department awarded three contracts for pollock, haddock, and perch products: USD 1.6 million (EUR 1.5 million) to Blue Harvest Foods; USD 11.7 million (EUR 10.7 million) to Channel Fish Processing, and USD 15.6 million (EUR 14.2 million) to the Pier Fish Company.

Earlier this month, Alaska’s congressional delegation announced that the USDA planned to buy USD 119.5 million (EUR 109 million) worth of Alaskan sockeye salmon and Pacific groundfish for federal food-assistance programs.

“USDA’s purchase of Alaska seafood is great news for our fishing industry and all who depend on federal food assistance,” U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said in a statement. “Alaskan fishermen stand ready to help feed their communities, and these purchases provide them the perfect opportunity to bring healthy Alaskan seafood to the tables of families who need it most.”

Photo courtesy of GK1982/Shutterstock


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