Alaska PWS Tanner crab fishery harvest declines Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman - May 12, 2021 Harvesters in the 2021 Prince William Sound commissioner’s permit Tanner crab fishery caught 56,352 pounds from 33,803 crab, down considerably from the 108,854 pounds from 64,553 crab delivered from the fishery a year ago. https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2021/05/12/pws-tanner-crab-fishery-harvest-declines/ National USDA to Makes Historic Seafood Purchase for Food Assistance Programs SeafoodNews.com by Susan Chambers - May 13, 2021 The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced it will purchase up to $159.4 million in domestically produced seafood, fruits, legumes and nuts as part of the Section 32 food assistance funding program. The products will be distributed to a variety of domestic food assistance programs, including charitable institutions, the USDA said in a press release. These purchases are being made utilizing funds under the authority of Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, as amended. It is one of the many actions USDA is taking to address the disruptions in the food system supply chain and worsened food insecurity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. “The impacts of COVID-19 reverberated from our farms to our oceans,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “U.S. fisheries and the American seafood industry were dealt a heavy blow. Today, USDA is pleased to make the largest single seafood purchase in the Department’s history. These healthy, nutritious food purchases will benefit food banks and non-profits helping those struggling with food hardship as the Biden Administration works to get the economy back on track for American families.” Selected seafood commodities include Alaska pollock, sockeye (red) salmon, Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic wild-caught shrimp and Pacific pink shrimp, rockfish and hake (whiting) from the West Coast. The inventories of these commodities are in high oversupply due to a decrease in demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic and disruption in the supply chain, as restaurants and other outlets closed during the pandemic, the USDA said. Fishermen and processors on the West Coast were ecstatic. "The USDA purchases will help supplement and stabilize our existing markets, allowing us to keep American fishing and processing families working through difficult times," West Coast Seafood Processors Association Executive Director Lori Steele said. "The USDA and public get healthy, nutritious seafood from sustainable stocks. It truly is a win-win." "It’s impossible to overstate how meaningful it is to our industry to see USDA doing its part to place a healthy, sustainable, nutritious, delicious, and domestically-produced protein, Wild Alaska Pollock, on the plates of those in need right now," said Craig Morris, executive director of the Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP). "USDA’s own dietary guidelines recommend that American’s should eat more seafood for their health and this historic purchase will allow our Nation’s most vulnerable to have more access to the health benefits of seafood consumption," he said. The funding in this package includes:
Alaska pollock: up to $20 million
Gulf of Mexico/South Atlantic wild shrimp: up to $25 million
Pacific pink shrimp: up to $4 million
Pacific rockfish fillets: up to $4 million
Pacific whiting fillets: up to $9 million
Sockeye (red) salmon: up to $8.9 million
Total seafood purchases: up to $70.9 million
Already, seafood processors are working to get approved as vendors so they can begin supplying products to the USDA, Steele said.
Fishermen and processors began working with the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service and lawmakers early this year to make the seafood purchases happen.
On the West Coast, the WCSPA, Midwater Trawlers Cooperative, Oregon Trawl Commission and Fishermen's Marketing Association sent a letter to USDA in early March, asking the AMS to specify Pacific pink shrimp, Pacific rockfish and Pacific hake (whiting) as USDA Section 32 “bonus buys.” In an April letter to Secretary Vilsack, 10 members of the West Coast congressional delegation supported the seafood industry.
"During these unprecedented times, USDA’s procurement programs are critical to filling an incredibly important void – one that ensures that food production essential workers stay employed, supply chains keep operating, and America’s nutritional needs are met. We appreciate USDA’s efforts to date to expand its long-standing purchasing programs to include seafood products from various U.S. regions. However, thus far, few of the procurements have focused on purchases of seafood products from the West Coast," the lawmakers wrote in the April 9 letter.
The USDA listened, and now food assistance programs will have some delicious and nutritious seafood protein from the Pacific Ocean available, in addition to the USDA's other seafood commodity purchases.
"This is just the beginning of the West Coast seafood industry’s relationship with the USDA and it’s very exciting!" Steele said. "We have a number of products that are ideal for these markets, and we are excited about working with the USDA to continue to bring a greater diversity of high-quality seafood to their programs."
Within a few days of approval, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service will offer these commodities to their networks. Orders should be received during the first week of June with solicitations being issued mid- June and awards occurring near the end of the month. Deliveries should start to occur by mid-August. Solicitations will be available electronically through the Web-Based Supply Chain Management system and on the Agricultural Marketing Service's website at www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food. To be eligible to submit offers, potential contractors must meet the AMS vendor qualification requirements and be domestic operations.
The other commodities in this purchase package include: apricots (canned, dried, and frozen), chickpeas, dry peas, lentils, navy beans, pistachios, and prepared peaches.
Editor's Note: Susan Chambers also serves as the Deputy Director of the West Coast Seafood Processors Association.
Federal Register North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 05/13/2021 The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) Ecosystem Committee will meet May 27, 2021. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/05/13/2021-10097/north-pacific-fishery-management-council-public-meeting Permanent Advisory Committee To Advise the U.S. Commissioners to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission; Meeting Announcement A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 05/13/2021 NMFS announces a public meeting of the Permanent Advisory Committee (PAC) to advise the U.S. Commissioners to the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPFC) on June 10, 2021. Meeting topics are provided under the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/05/13/2021-10105/permanent-advisory-committee-to-advise-the-us-commissioners-to-the-western-and-central-pacific FYI’s AMCC Young Fishing Fellows Program applications open Cordova Times - May 11, 2021 Applications are being accepted through May 24 for the fifth year of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council’s Young Fishing Fellows Program, with positions available in Cordova, Homer and Sitka. https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2021/05/11/amcc-young-fishing-fellows-program-applications-open/
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