USDA awards USD 10 million in Alaska pollock contracts

Frozen pollock fillets in clear plastic packaging.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded around USD 10 million (EUR 8.5 million) in Alaska pollock contracts to Trident Seafoods and Channel Fish Processing.

Despite the big win for pollock producers, pollock processors left several million dollars of the contract on the table. The USDA said in a notice it could not award contracts for nearly 2.1 million pounds of frozen pollock fillets, 1.5 pounds million pounds of pollock nuggets, and 1.25 million pounds of fish sticks “due to vendor constraints.”

Late last week, the USDA also awarded a USD 8 million (EUR 6.8 million) canned salmon contract to Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.-based OBI Seafoods and another contract for breaded catfish worth USD 2.42 million (EUR 2 million) to Consolidated Catfish Companies in Isola, Mississippi.

This is the second largest amount of pollock purchases the USDA has made in its history – and it could be purchasing more this year, The Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) CEO Craig Morris told SeafoodSource. 

“With this most recent award, USDA has now purchased 13,387,200 pounds of Alaska pollock this year valued at USD 35.48 million [EUR 30 million]. That makes this year the third-highest by volume and second by value in USDA’s history of purchasing Alaska pollock,” Morris said.

Seattle, Washington-based Trident landed the bulk of the pollock contract at nearly USD 9.5 million (EUR 8.1 million) worth of pollock fillets, fish sticks, and nuggets. Braintree, Massachusetts-based Channel Fish will deliver around USD 576,000 (EUR 488,000) worth of frozen pollock fish sticks.

The suppliers will deliver the pollock to several U.S. cities between October and December 2021.

It is possible that the USDA intends to issue another solicitation inviting bids on the remaining 4.9 million pounds of Alaska pollock that wasn’t awarded this time, according to Morris.

“Also, since all of the products in this most-recent invitation were intended for household distribution, USDA could also issue a separate invitation for Alaska pollock products in institutional package-sizes for distribution in such federal food and nutrition assistance programs as the National School Lunch Program,” Morris said.

As a result, it is too early to say whether USDA’s purchases of Alaska pollock this fiscal year – which ends 30 September for the agency – are complete, according to Morris.  

Photo courtesy of Anton Starikov/Shutterstock


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