USDA seeking to buy more than 5.7 million pounds of Alaska pollock nuggets, other frozen fish

A photo of pollock nuggets. | Photo courtesy of Shutterstock/alisafarov
4 Min

The U.S. Department of Agriculture wants to buy 5.7 million pounds of frozen Alaska pollock nuggets as well as 35,300 pounds of various frozen fish fillets.

The department released the solicitation 1 April 2024 and has set a due date of 15 April for all bids. The government said awards will be announced by 29 April.

Fish purchased through the solicitation will be distributed through the U.S. government’s domestic food distribution programs, such as the National School Lunch Program. Companies that are awarded contracts will need to complete their deliveries between 1 July and 31 December 2024.

The government is seeking 9,900 pounds of frozen Atlantic pollock fillets, 5.7 million pounds of frozen Alaska pollock nuggets, 15,500 pounds of frozen haddock fillets, and 9,900 pounds of frozen ocean perch fillets.

The solicitation follows more than USD 100 million (EUR 91 million) in contracts issued for canned salmon and frozen Alaska pollock in March. Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.-based OBI Seafoods was awarded USD 53.9 million (USD 49 million) for canned pink salmon and another USD 14.3 million (EUR 13 million) for canned red salmon. Bellevue, Washington, U.S.A.-based Peter Pan Seafood was awarded USD 17.2 million (EUR 15.7 million) for canned pink salmon and USD 16 million (EUR 14.6 million) for canned red salmon. Kenmore, Washington, U.S.A.-based Kanaway Seafoods was awarded USD 158,000 (EUR 144,000) for canned red salmon.

At the same time, Lunenberg, New Brunswick, Canada-based High Liner was awarded USD 14 million (EUR 12.7 million) for Alaska pollock and Braintree, Massachusetts, U.S.A.-based Channel Fish Processing was awarded USD 33.9 million worth (EUR 31 million) for Alaska pollock.

The government also awarded contracts for frozen seafood products to Channel Fish Processing and Trident Seafoods in December 2023 for a combined value of USD 1.75 million. Braintree, Massachusetts, U.S.A.-based Channel Fish was awarded USD 988,559 (EUR 917,000) to supply frozen pollock sticks, while Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.-based Trident was awarded USD 759,924 (EUR 705,000) to supply bulk surimi.

Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers CEO Craig Morris told SeafoodSource in December USDA purchased a total of 25.5 million pounds of pollock products at a value of USD 68.5 million (EUR 63.5 million) in fiscal 2023. He said on 3 April the new purchase request would take the U.S. government's commitment to purchasing U.S. seafood even farther.

"USDA issued a very substantial solicitation for a basket of seafood products that would utilize Commodity Credit Corporation funds to purchase 5.7 million pounds of Alaska pollock nuggets. These are being purchased in 40-pound boxes of 2-pound packages and will be distributed to food banks around the country under the Federal Food and Nutrition Assistance Program to those most in need," he said. "This purchase, if fully awarded, will make the USDA fiscal year 2024 the second highest purchase year of Alaska pollock ever by the federal government, behind only 2019, during the height of the U.S.-China trade war."

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