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【Column of Fishery Industry】Effects of COVID-19 on Fisheries and Aquaculture

Source: Taiwan International Trade Shows | Updated: 22 June 2020

Author:Lee Hui Wen

Effects of COVID-19 on Fisheries and Aquaculture

The pandemic of COVID-19 has become the main concern for people all around the world recently. Most of us are focusing on the effects of this virus on human health, especially with the dramatic numbers of confirmed cases and related deaths reported every day. Many countries decided to lock down their countries, ban travel, and encourage their citizen to stay at home to prevent further spread of the virus into their communities.

Apart from its impact on world health, COVID-19 also brought negative impacts on global economy. So what are the effects of COVID-19 on fisheries and aquaculture sectors?

The most apparent impact of COVID-19 on fisheries and aquaculture sectors is the decrease in market demand and seafood consumption as a result of changes in consumer behaviour and challenges in logistics, which leads to an overall downward trend on seafood prices.

According to reports published by FAO in 2020, to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the economy of fisheries and aquaculture sectors, the solution lies in finding a way to ensure that activities in the supply chain remain undisrupted nor halted by COVID-19 related impacts.

Key activities:

? Fishing, aquaculture production, processing, transport, and marketing.

Impacts on Fisheries sector:

? Reduced fishing activities caused by:

  • Relying mainly on export markets (transportation problems affect the export process)
  • Pandemic protocols and related health and security issues
  • Limited supplies
  • Labour shortage

Impacts on Aquaculture sector:

? Extended culture period needed caused by:

  • Dependence on export markets causing sales number to plummet (inability to export during the pandemic)
  • Closure of foodservice industry businesses and retailers

? The increase of costs, expenses, and risks

? Production capacity is affected due to:

  • Difficulties in trading brood stock (for seed production)
  • Difficulties in feed trading due to import/export limitations
  • Possible lockdown-related labour shortage

However, small-scale aquaculture might benefit from the reduced competition, in turns adding the possibility for them to provide for local markets instead.

With the fresh seafood sales currently stalling, one idea is to turn the excess supply into processed seafood products. However, it raise the question of possibly upsetting the market of processed seafood products.

Although panic food buying increased the sales of prepacked, frozen, and canned fish products, the shortage of raw material remains. Furthermore, transportation problems may increase logistic cost. Longer storage time can also lead to product spoilage.

All possibilities mentioned above can directly affect the income of the industry. Prolonged impact could indirectly cause poverty and hunger in the long run. Therefore, some countries have started to provide compensation or funding for their citizen in order to cope with the secondary impact of COVID-19.

Indeed, COVID-19 does bring tremendous impacts on our lives. However, the reduction of human movements because of COVID-19 does aide in recovery of the environment and the populations of marine life as well.

What's your opinion?

FAO suggested some measures that could protect the supply chain of fisheries and aquaculture in the link below:

http://www.fao.org/3/ca8637en/CA8637EN.pdf

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