USDA to buy more salmon, pollock, shrimp, and haddock

USDA to buy more canned salmon and frozen pollock

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to buy a massive amount of salmon, pollock, and other seafood products for the National School Lunch Program and other federal food assistance programs, per two solicitations it released this week.

The USDA's first solicitation asks companies to bid on a total of 47,120 cases of canned pink salmon and 957,920 pounds of frozen Alaska pollock. The deadline for bids is 22 June, with contracts announced by midnight 29 June. Deliveries will take place between 1 September and the end of the year.

The second solicitation seeks bids on 11,700 cases of frozen pollock fillets, 900 cases of frozen haddock fillets, 3.7 million pounds of frozen salmon fillets, 53,100 cases of frozen Pacific rockfish fillets, 238,500 cases of frozen salad shrimp products, 50,400 cases of frozen Pacific whiting fillets, and 753,200 cases of canned red sammon. Bids are due 29 June, with awards announced by 10 July. Deliveries will take place between August and the end of January 2024.

The USDA has made several seafood purchases this year already, including salmon products and Alaska pollock.

Alaskan groups have been lobbying USDA to purchase more Alaska fish products. In September 2022, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) submitted requests to purchase Alaska sockeye salmon products – 5 million pounds of frozen fillets, 200,000 cases of tall cans, and 500,00 cases of half cans – as well as 50 million pounds of Alaska pollock products. In March 2023, Alaska’s congressional delegation followed up with a letter restating ASMI’s request.

“Alaska suppliers are nearly finished with the first portion of their Alaska pollock season and need to market this massive harvest,” the delegation said. “Additionally, planning for the 2023 salmon season has begun while the record-breaking 2022 harvest is still being marketed. Millions of dollars are being spent and committed while waiting on the USDA to declare their need of Alaska seafood.”

Alaskan fishing groups were able to declare victory last month, when the delegation announced USDA had agreed to purchase USD 67.5 million in Alaska sockeye salmon products and another USD 52 million in Pacific groundfish products for the Section 32 program, which buys surplus food products from domestic producers for low-income food assistance programs.

“Our great fishing industry is a pillar of Alaska’s economy and culture, and is critical to America’s food supply chain,” Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) said. “It’s welcome news that the USDA intends to purchase up to $119.5 million dollars of Alaskan seafood to assist Americans in need. I look forward to continuing to work with the USDA to promote healthy, sustainable seafood in the diets of all Americans.”

Last month, USDA awarded USD 3.7 million (EUR 3.4 million) for Alaska pollock products and requested bids for another 16.4 million pounds along with 465,120 cases of canned pink salmon.

Photo courtesy of shorex.koss / Shutterstock


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