Federal Government Plans Big Purchase of Alaska Pink Salmon

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
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/commoditypurchasing and
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.