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USDA Purchases $13 Million of Canned Pink Salmon


After urging from Alaska’s senior senator, the USDA has agreed to purchase a large shipment of canned pink salmon for food aid.  KDLG’s Chase Cavanaugh has more.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has agreed to purchase $13 million of canned pink salmon from the state of Alaska.  The move comes at the urging of Senator Lisa Murkowski, who says a strong 2013 harvest led to an excess of pinks, and having USDA purchase the surplus cans from state companies would help prevent a drop in the price paid to fishermen.  Tyson Fick, spokesman for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, says the purchase, which will provide cans to The Emergency Food Assistance program, was an excellent idea.

“It’s a great opportunity to get some super high value, highly nutritious protein into the food aid program and potentially introduce a whole new market to healthy, convenient canned salmon.”

The cans, like other foods in the food aid program, will be given to state governments, who then send them out to food banks and other local distributors.  Fick says while some regions have a preference for salmon, the cans will go everywhere.

“There’s some more traditional markets. The Southeast of the United States is a pretty traditional market for canned pink salmon for us and it could go anywhere throughout the country where there is demand and food banks to support it.”

The $13 million purchase follows a similar one last year, which consisted of $30 million of canned pink salmon.