Murkowski Helps Convince Administration to Buy Millions in Alaska Pink Salmon for Americans in Need
Food Bank of Alaska Calls Decision “A Win-Win”
Just more than a month after Senator Lisa Murkowski urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consider Governor Sean Parnell’s proposal to use existing federal funds to buy extra Alaska canned pink salmon for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has agreed to purchase up to $13 million worth. This news is welcomed by Alaska’s seafood industry, which has been burdened by a glut of pink salmon from last year’s record harvest, and boosts the nutrition options for low-income Americans facing the lingering recession.
"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,” said Murkowski. “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.”
On July 29th, Senator Murkowski reached out to USDA Secretary Vilsack in support of Governor Parnell’s request pointing out that the unsold salmon inventory was harming this season’s economic prospects. In her (attached) letter, she wrote:
“In addition to the benefit such a purchase would bring to the Alaska fishing industry, the purchase of Alaska pink salmon … would result in important health benefits for the low-income Americans who rely on USDA-supported food assistance programs.”
The news was welcomed by Food Bank of Alaska, as well. "We're so happy to see Secretary Vilsack understands the value of Alaska's nutritious and tasty salmon as a source of much needed protein for our struggling neighbors,” said Food Bank of Alaska Executive Director Michael Miller. “We're seeing record numbers of Alaskans utilizing the emergency food safety net. We appreciate the leadership of Senator Murkowski on hunger issues, and Alaska's seafood industry will also benefit from this purchase. It's a win-win."