Funding announcement comes after Merkley-led letter urged USDA for more federal support to West Coast fishermen and seafood processors
Monday, May 8, 2023
Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, along with Oregon’s U.S. Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-01), Val Hoyle (D-OR-04), Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR-05), and Andrea Salinas (D-OR-06), announced today that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved $52 million to purchase Pacific Groundfish and Seafood Products. This approved funding comes after Merkley led colleagues this past February in a letter to USDA pushing for more support to West Coast fishermen and seafood processors by including them in critical federal purchasing programs.
“Oregon’s fisheries are the lifeblood of our coastal communities, and when they thrive, the Oregon Coast thrives,” said Merkley. “This announcement will boost Oregon’s coastal fishermen and world-class seafood producers while also ensuring that high-quality, nutritious seafood is included in American food assistance programs.”
“This good news provides a much-needed lifeline both to help fishing jobs along the Oregon Coast recover from major challenges and to help Oregon families battling hunger,” Wyden said. “I’m glad the federal government has responded to our delegation’s request for this assistance, and I’ll keep working to ensure this key connection between coastal fishing and nutrition statewide continues to thrive.”
“USDA’s announcement is great news for Oregon’s fishing industry, seafood processors, and farmers,” said Rep. Bonamici. “West Coast fisheries have faced significant challenges in recent years, and this purchase will provide a financial lift that benefits coastal communities while they recover. Oregon fisheries are a key part of our state’s rich cultural identity and Oregon’s agricultural products significantly contribute to our state’s economic growth.”
“Commercial fishing on the Oregon Coast is the economic backbone of our rural coastal communities and an important piece of the country’s economy. I’m glad to see that the USDA has approved our request to purchase Pacific groundfish and seafood products to distribute to food assistance programs,” said Rep. Hoyle. “These types of federal investments keep our supply chain going, support coastal jobs and ports, and puts food on our tables.”
“I’m pleased that the USDA has fulfilled our request for additional support for fisherman and seafood processers across the Pacific Northwest. I’ll continue working in a bipartisan manner with my colleagues in the region to stand up for critical industries that benefit Oregon and our neighboring states,” Rep. Chavez-DeRemer said.
“I’m grateful to the Department of Agriculture for stepping up on behalf of the Oregon fishing industry and those who make their living from it,” said Rep. Salinas. “Their support will help ensure that generations of fishers, farmers, and seafood processors can reliably do business in our state – to the benefit of our local economy and the entire country.”
Purchases will be made under the authority of Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of August 24, 1935, which supports the agriculture and fishing sectors and encourages the continued domestic consumption of locally grown products and caught seafood by diverting it from the normal channels of trade and commerce and into domestic food assistance programs.