Murkowski Works with USDA Head to Secure Purchase of Millions Worth of Surplus Sockeye Salmon for Americans in Need

Food Bank of Alaska “Thrilled” at News, Senator’s Advocacy and Results

Within days of Senator Lisa Murkowski urging Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to use existing federal funds to buy surplus Alaska canned sockeye salmon for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), the cabinet official today agreed, announcing plans to buy up to $30 million worth.

"Food banks nationwide are reporting higher numbers and more diverse numbers of Americans in need, and Alaskan sockeye salmon is an ideal source of protein and extremely heart healthy,” said Murkowski.  “Knowing that Alaska has tons of excess canned sockeye salmon hurting our fishing industry, this seemed a great fit to clear their shelves and help out those who are still waiting to feel an economic recovery.”

“We are thrilled with Secretary Vilsack’s decision to purchase more nutritious Alaskan salmon for the TEFAP program,” said Food Bank of Alaska Director Michael Miller. “This purchase helps both our state’s fishermen and those in need across the country.  We are so grateful to Senator Murkowski for her continued efforts to support the TEFAP program, and for her leadership on anti-hunger issues.”

“The 2014 harvest of Alaska sockeye salmon was the second highest harvest in the past 10 years, and this year, total sockeye harvest has exceeded 35 million fish, a very large harvest. As a result, seafood producers are holding onto an unprecedented inventory of canned sockeye salmon, which only continues to grow,” Murkowski wrote in a letter (attached) last Wednesday. “The purchase of Alaska sockeye salmon under the Section 32 authority [will] result in important health benefits for the low-income Americans who rely on USDA-supported food assistance programs.”