NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – September 22, 2020 – Blue Harvest Fisheries is pleased to announce that it has been granted a $4,425,480 purchase award to supply local, sustainably harvested haddock, ocean perch and Atlantic pollock to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The purchase, part of the Department’s Commodity Procurement Program, will be used to distribute Blue Harvest’s all-natural, IQF groundfish to schools, food banks, and households across the United States.
According to the USDA, the Commodity Procurement Program is “a vital component of our nation’s food safety net” that provides “wholesome, high quality products” to communities across the country.
Deliveries will start on October 1 and run through December 31. All of the fish utilized for this program will be harvested by American-flagged vessels from MSC-certified fisheries in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank. They’ll be processed at Blue Harvest’s dock-side facility in New Bedford, Massachusetts before being distributed to recipients nationwide.
“We are delighted that the USDA has selected Blue Harvest to bring high-quality seafood to deserving Americans across the country,” said Keith Decker, CEO of Blue Harvest. “Given the uncertainties surrounding the seafood market during the ongoing pandemic, this order will help ensure that the groundfish industry at the New Bedford waterfront can continue working, while providing food security for those who need it most.”
Blue Harvest thanks Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, USDA staff, and the Trump Administration for expanding the Commodity Procurement Program to include East Coast seafood for the first time in decades.
The company is deeply grateful to Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Congressmen William Keating (D-MA-09) and Seth Moulton (D-MA-06) who first took the initiative on this issue. In May, they wrote to Secretary Perdue to ask that the USDA include East Coast seafood in purchasing agreements funded by the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) and the Section 32 program.
“I am pleased that the USDA is supporting fishermen by purchasing seafood from the Port of New Bedford, the nation’s top commercial fishing port, during a pandemic that has affected every sector of the economy,” said New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell. “I am grateful to Secretary Perdue for his support of the seafood industry, and to our congressional delegation for their advocacy on behalf of our port and our state’s commercial fishermen.”
The USDA Commodity Procurement Program has long been vital in supporting U.S. agriculture, as well as seafood producers in other parts of the country. We hope that the program’s expansion to include East Coast seafood is the start of a productive, long-term relationship with the USDA.
About Blue Harvest Fisheries
Blue Harvest Fisheries is a leading supplier of premium quality seafood sustainably harvested from MSC certified fisheries in the U.S. The company operates its own fleet of 15 scallop and 9 groundfish vessels as well as offload facilities in Newport News, VA and Fairhaven, MA, and an SQF certified waterfront manufacturing facility in New Bedford, MA. The Blue Harvest Fisheries product line features sea scallops, Pacific cod, haddock, ocean perch (Acadian redfish) and Atlantic pollock (saithe). The company also offers swordfish and tuna from approved third-party vessels. Blue Harvest Fisheries products are sold fresh and frozen under the Blue Harvest brand to leading restaurants, wholesalers and distributors across the U.S. and abroad. The company also offers custom processing and is a supplier of private label products to retailers and food service distributors. For more information visit www.blueharvestfisheries.com.