FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jeremy Woodrow, ASMI Executive Director
USDA Approves Major Anticipated Purchases of Alaska Sockeye Salmon
JUNEAU, Alaska. May 8, 2023 – Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) is pleased to share the U.S Department of Agriculture’s recent approval of a purchase of up to $67.5 million of Alaska sockeye salmon products, with up to $37.5 million for canned and $30 million for frozen sockeye fillet portions. This is great news for the Alaska sockeye sector and food insecure Americans around the country, who will benefit from these nutritious and desirable products through USDA’s food and nutrition programs this year. The official USDA announcement is expected within days.
Sockeye salmon is rich in protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It’s an excellent seafood choice for USDA’s program participants. This purchase will go a long way to improve access to exceptional nutrition and help USDA align their offerings with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA 2020-2025) that recommend two seafood servings per week for all Americans, starting at one year of age.
These high quality sockeye salmon products will be sourced in the U.S. from Alaska’s sustainably managed fisheries. This will be a boon for Bristol Bay and other communities immersed in sockeye fishing and processing. The purchases will relieve some of the pressure from the current large inventories of canned and frozen products as harvesters and processors move into the upcoming 2023 summer harvest season. Alaska sockeye fishing families will be able to do what they do best – fish efficiently, preserve quality and sustain the stocks.
At the close of the 2022 sockeye salmon harvest, one of the largest returns in history, the Alaska sockeye sector requested ASMI’s help moving the significant inventory of sockeye salmon. As with other requests for pink salmon and Alaska pollock purchases, ASMI initiated requests of the Secretary of Agriculture for assistance under Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1935. This program assists U.S. agricultural food markets by purchasing commodities to relieve market surpluses.
Bruce Schactler, ASMI’s Global Food Aid Program Director, worked closely with USDA, industry and the Alaska delegation in Washington, D.C., throughout the process, which relies on economic review of the sector to gauge need.
ASMI Executive Director Jeremy Woodrow and senior staff met with Agriculture Under Secretary Moffitt while in Vietnam during an Alaska Seafood trade mission in February 2023. Alaska’s Delegation, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senator Dan Sullivan and Representative Mary Peltola were instrumental in supporting the requests and securing approval from the Secretary of Agriculture, the arbiter of the program.
ASMI and the Alaska seafood harvesters, processors and industry appreciate the USDA’s partnership to sustain the Alaska seafood industry, and encourage USDA to continue to expand access to high quality, health promoting, sustainable wild Alaska Seafood for its program participants.
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) is a partnership between the State of Alaska and the Alaska seafood industry promoting the benefits of wild and sustainable Alaska seafood and offering seafood industry education. The seafood industry is Alaska’s largest basic private sector employer with nearly 60 percent of all wild seafood and 90-95 percent of wild salmon harvested in the U.S. coming from Alaska. In addition to wild salmon, Alaska is known for its crab and whitefish varieties such as Pacific cod, sablefish, halibut, Alaska pollock, sole and rockfish – available fresh or frozen year-round. Alaska has been dedicated to sustainable seafood for more than 60 years and is the only state with a constitution that mandates all seafood be managed under the sustained yield principle. Alaska has taken a leadership role in setting the global standard for precautionary resource management to protect fisheries and surrounding habitats for future generations and leading to an ever-replenishing supply of wild seafood for markets worldwide. www.alaskaseafood.org