USDA Agricultural Marketing Service announces purchase of $20 million in Atlantic Seafood


Washington (May 5, 2020) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Congressmen William Keating (MA-09) and Seth Moulton (MA-06) applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement to include Atlantic seafood in additional Section 32 food purchases made available in part by the Coronavirus Assistance, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The USDA Section 32 program has historically overlooked East Coast seafood. However, the Agricultural Marketing Service announced yesterday that it will purchase $20,000,000 in Atlantic Haddock, Pollock, and Redfish. These purchases will help East Coast seafood producers that have been devastated by the ongoing effects of the pandemic. The Massachusetts lawmakers have championed the federal government taking this step, writing to the USDA in April and May to urge the inclusion of domestic and East Coast seafood companies in the deployment of the $9.5 billion awarded by the CARES Act for affected agricultural producers. 


“Atlantic seafood and our seafood industry have long been overlooked by USDA purchasing and they are finally get the attention and resources they need through these food purchases,” said Senator Markey. “Our fishermen are suffering during this pandemic and these purchases will help them stay afloat.”


“I’m glad the USDA will be providing this much-needed relief to Massachusetts fishermen, who were already struggling before this pandemic hit,” said Senator Warren. “The fishing and seafood industry are a key part of the Commonwealth’s history, economy, and future, and we must support our fishing community during this difficult time.”


“I am pleased to see that the USDA has finally recognized the important role that North Atlantic seafood plays in maintaining the nation’s food supply,” said Rep. Keating. “These purchases will not only help to support our fishing industry during these trying times, but will also provide highly nutritious, sustainable food for families in need across the nation.”


“Fishermen are hurting. Things were already tough because of the trade war and they got a lot tougher when restaurants closed because of the pandemic,” said Rep Moulton. “Government’s strength is measured by its ability to serve the people it represents. I hope this brings new business and peace of mind to America’s fishermen.”