COVID-19 : Impact on global fish trade

GLOBEFISH has launched a survey on the impact of COVID-19 on fisheries and aquaculture. If you are involved in the sector you can participate by filling in this short questionnaire. Please share this survey with any relevant networks or other producers, processors, exporters or vendors of fish or fish products.
The covid-19 pandemic, unprecedented in modern times, continues to cause major disruption in societies around the world and inflict severe damage on the global economy. Governments have introduced an array of measures intended to slow the spread of the virus, including social isolation directives, limitations on business opening hours and travel restrictions. The seafood sector, along with the majority of industries, is having to deal with a bleak demand outlook as well as an array of supply challenges. With the effective shutdown of the restaurant industry, foodservice demand has evaporated, while retail sales have been marked by extreme volatility as periods of panic buying are followed by sustained lulls.
Demand for packaged and frozen products has spiked as households look to stock up on non-perishable food at the expense of fresh seafood options. At the same time, online distributors are reporting increased interest as home-bound consumers explore retail alternatives. Overall, however, demand has been sharply reduced and prices have fallen for many species, particularly those that are important for the restaurant industry. Meanwhile, suppliers and processors are struggling with business closures all along the supply chain as well as a number of other logistical difficulties. Haulers must contend with closed or restricted road borders and health inspection delays, while the large-scale cancellation of flights has directly affected trade in some high-end fresh products which are transported by air.
Other consequences of the virus outbreak include the cancellation of key seafood trade events across the world and a delay in aquaculture harvests due to labour shortages. Seafood representatives in many countries are calling for financial aid from the government, but such measures may only provide limited relief in the face of widespread upheaval. Industry stakeholders are also calling for regulator flexibility in terms of extending catch limits and raising biomass limits, and emphasizing the need to rapidly understand and plan for long-term changes in the market landscape. Uncertainty still dominates the outlook, particularly with regard to the duration and severity of the pandemic, but a prolonged market downturn can be expected even after current restrictions are lifted or relaxed.

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