The spread of the coronavirus has negatively affected the seafood industry. The current pandemic has “halted sales in restaurants and sent fishermen and dealers scrambling for new markets,” reported Fox Business.
The virus has affected the essential workers of the seafood industry – fishermen, processors, buyers, and distributors. Due to the lack of demand, the prices tumbled. It “led some fishermen to tie up their boats until the outbreak subsides.”
Health Crisis and the Seafood Industry
"Seafood industry struggles during coronavirus outbreak" posted by Nagendra Bandi. The seafood industry has been upended by the spread of the coronavirus, which has halted sales in restaurants and sent fishermen and dealers scrambling for new markets pic.twitter.com/nVjlzTzdw7
— Nagendra Bandi (@HiNagendraBandi) April 5, 2020
According to Fox Business, members of the U.S. seafood industry are calling on the Trump administration and Congress to help them weather the uncertain time.
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Bert Jongerden, general manager of the Portland Fish Exchange, said that the market for items such as scallops and lobster is “pretty much nonexistent.” He explained that the auction house usually moves up to 60,000 pounds (27,215 kilograms) of fish in a week but is down to less than a third of that.
“Heard some stories with people coming in with lobsters saying dealers wouldn’t take them,” Jongerden said. “And we don’t have a lot of fish.”
Rules to stay at home and various closures prompted customers out of restaurants where seafood usually fetches high prices. The worldwide shipping industry has also slowed down.
This leads to a plummeting of wholesale prices. “The wholesale price for live 1.25-pound (570-gram) lobsters in March was 33% under 2018 levels, according to business publisher Urner Barry. A ripple effect has been a slowdown in distribution, processing and the most important piece of the supply chain — fishing,” said Fox Business.
John Sackton, publisher of SeafoodNews.com, said that the industry could further suffer from economic slowdown. Customers who worry about a recession might be cautious of spending their money on seafood.