US Department of Agriculture officials plan to buy up to $13 million of Alaska pink salmon for surplus removal, a purchase that will unload a glut of pink salmon from last year’s record harvest of humpies, while feeding hungry families.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who had urged Agriculture Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack to purchase of the excess inventory of Alaska’s canned pink salmon, announced the deal this week, while the USDA alerted seafood processors of its plans to solicit bids for purchase.
“Such a purchase would bring important and necessary assistance to Alaska’s fishing industry as well as to food programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program,” Murkowski said in a letter to Vilsack this summer.
Agriculture officials said an invitation for bids would be issued soon for deliveries Oct. 16 through Jan. 31. All offers must be submitted electronically through the Web-Based Supply Chain Management website at http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=WBSCM
Those submitting bids are urged to check the Agricultural Marketing Service Commodity Procurement website at www.ams.usda.gov/commoditypurchasingand review all documents as they pertain to this program.
To receive electronic notification of the issuance of these solicitations, check the subscribe to AMS CP News link on the AMS Commodity Procurement website.
Inquiries may be made by phone to 1-202-720-4517 or by mail to Contracting Officer, USDA/AMS Commodity Procurement Staff, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, STOP 0239, Washington DC 20250-0256.
An electronic version of the purchase announcement is online at http://www.ams.usda.gov/commoditypurchasing
Murkowski noted that the Agricultural Marketing Service had in the past supported Alaskan fishermen by authorizing purchases of pink salmon and Alaska pollock.
The purchase would also provide nutritional benefits for low-income Americans who rely on US Department of Agriculture-supported food assistance programs, she said.
“For countless Alaskans and Americans nationwide, the economy is still not working for them; food banks nationwide are seeing increased numbers of those seeking emergency food assistance,” she said. “Knowing that Alaska’s seafood warehouses have tons of excess canned pink salmon seemed a great fit to clear their shelves and help feed Americans with one of the most natural and nutritious options out there.”
News of USDA plans to purchase canned pink salmon was welcomed by Michael Miller, executive director of the Food Bank of Alaska, who said a record number of Alaskans are utilizing the emergency food safety net.