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Pandemic has dealt the seafood industry a body blow

By Patrick Whittle | Associated Press

Portland, Maine-The coronavirus pandemic has hit the US fisheries with a sharp decline in imports and exports and a decline in catches for some species.

These are the results of a group of scientists trying to quantify the pandemic damage in the American seafood business, partly due to the reliance on restaurant sales. Consumer demand for seafood in restaurants fell by more than 70% early in the pandemic, according to scientists who recently published their findings in the scientific journal Fishand Fisheries.

According to the survey, imports decreased by about 37% and exports decreased by about 43% in the first nine months of this year compared to 2019. Easton White, a biologist and lead author of the study at the University of Vermont, said the economic impact was most severe in states that were heavily dependent on the fisheries sector, such as Maine, Alaska, and Louisiana. It was.

Not everything is in dire straits for the industry, as seafood delivery and home cooking helped survive a corporate pandemic, White said. He said that if domestic consumers were more interested in fresh seafood, the industry would be in a better position to recover after a pandemic.

“These shifts to the local market can really serve the purpose of recovery,” White said. “The future path is to focus on shortening the supply chain a bit.”

According to the survey, the catch of Alaska’s high-value fish, halibut, decreased by 40% from the previous year to June. Statistics on many US fisheries will not be available until next year, but their findings are consistent with what many fishermen see on the water.

Ben Martens, secretary-general of the Maine Coastal Fisheries Association, said the catch of anglerfish in Maine has been depleted due to lack of access to foreign markets such as South Korea.
“We couldn’t build a business to do that this year because the prices were so low,” Martens said.

Kyle Foley, senior program manager for the Maine Bay Institute’s seafood program, said the study confirmed that members of the seafood industry had been listening for months. Foley, who was not involved in the investigation, said the findings reveal that the seafood industry needs more support from the federal government.

The federal government allocated $ 300 million in CARES law dollars to the fishing industry in May. The government announced $ 16 billion for farmers and ranchers that same month.
“It helps explain why we need more relief. I think this is the industry’s greatest concern across the seafood supply chain,” Foley said.

Pandemic has dealt the seafood industry a body blow Source link Pandemic has dealt the seafood industry a body blow

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