Begich Supports USDA Purchase of AK Salmon for Food Pantries
Agency Ups Buy to $20 Million Worth of Pink Salmon for Food Assistance Programs
Food assistance programs across the nation will soon be stocking their larders with nutritious Alaska salmon, thanks to federal approval of a new buy of up to $20 million worth of Alaska canned pink salmon.
This week the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), urged by U.S. Senator Mark Begich, approved the salmon purchase for various food assistance programs nationwide. The announcement came in a solicitation of offers from salmon canners.
“I’m a big fan of Alaska seafood and am glad to know families across the nation will be able to enjoy healthy, nutritious Alaska salmon,” said Begich. “Last year the Alaska fishing industry caught a record number of pink salmon—more than 219 million. Alaskans are proud of the way we manage our fisheries and these record numbers prove that we are serious about sustainable seafood.”
The increased USDA buy compares to salmon purchases by the Agricultural Marketing Service in past years that ranged from $5 million to $10 million. Begich said he hopes this year’s increased purchases will help ease overstocked supplies following last year’s record catch. The purchase will also benefit fishermen by reducing inventories that have weighed salmon prices down on the market.
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute spearheaded efforts to provide the salmon to the food assistance programs and Begich welcomed the opportunity to lend his support.