JUNEAU -

Gov. Sean Parnell has asked a federal agency to buy $37 million of canned pink salmon to ease a glut weighing down prices for Alaska fishermen.

Parnell made the request to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

He asked that USDA make the purchase under a federal law that allows for buying surplus foods from farmers and donating them to food banks or other programs. The USDA made a similar, smaller purchase of salmon earlier this year after a request from Sen. Lisa Murkowski to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, paying about $20 million for roughly 5,000 tons of salmon.

But Parnell said remaining unsold inventories are driving prices to levels that threaten harvest activity this year and next.

He said the price of canned pink salmon is 23 percent lower than a year ago and the advance price paid to fishermen is down about 33 percent from last year.

Channel 2's Chris Klint contributed information to this story.