USDA to approve major purchase of Alaska Seafood

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both R-Alaska, and U.S. Representative Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, today (May 5th, 2023) applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement that it has approved the purchase of up to $119.5 million worth of Alaskan Sockeye and Pacific Groundfish, which will be distributed across the country through 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,” said Senator Murkowski. “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.”

“Our great fishing industry is a pillar of Alaska’s economy and culture, and is critical to America’s food supply chain,” said Senator Sullivan. “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.”

“Food insecurity affects nearly a quarter of Americans,” said Representative Peltola. “We need to respond with every tool at our disposal. These purchases of high-quality Alaskan seafood, including sockeye salmon, will provide essential nutrition while also supporting our world-class fisheries. In our letter to Secretary Vilsack, we stressed the significance of Section 32 purchases as an opportunity to introduce healthy seafood into the diets of food insecure Americans, and I am glad that our delegation was once again able to collaborate on such an important issue.”

In March, Senators Murkowski and Sullivan and Representative Peltola sent a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture, urging him to consider a request submitted by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) to increase the supply of nutritious seafood to food-insecure Americans through USDA’s Section 32 program.

Background: Section 32 purchases draw their name from Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act. The Act authorizes a percentage of customs receipts to be transferred to the Secretary of Agriculture to support the prices of surplus domestic commodities, which are then distributed through various USDA programs designed to feed hungry Americans. Foods purchased with Section 32 funds are distributed to schools, childcare programs, and food banks. The Section 32 purchase announced today by USDA includes:

·Alaska Sockeye (Red) Salmon Products (Canned) – up to $37.5 million

·Alaska Sockeye (Red) Salmon Products (Fillets) – up to $30 million

·Pacific Groundfish/Seafood Products – up to $52 million