USDA Helps Struggling Pacific Seafood Industry With Historic Purchase
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a first-time purchase of several West Coast seafood products for its food assistance programs. The news is being well received by the regional seafood industry.
Over the past year, the nationwide closure of restaurants has caused a 70 percent drop in the seafood market, according to Lori Steele. She’s executive director for the West Coast Seafood Processors Association, which represents Oregon, Washington, and California.
Now Steele says out of $160 million the USDA is using to buy domestic products, $17 million will go towards seafood commercially harvested on the West Coast.
“The exciting part is they want to purchase all three of the products that we requested: Pink shrimp, rock fish, and whiting," adds Steele. "$17 million is a really great start to this relationship.”
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack says it’s his department’s largest seafood purchase ever. Oregon alone provides 75 percent of the Pacific Coast’s pink shrimp harvest every year.
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