Wed. Jan 20th, 2021

By patrick, The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – The coronovirus epidemic has hurt the US seafood industry due to a steep decline in imports and exports and a decline in the catch of some species.

They are the findings of a group of scientists who sought to quantify the amount of pandemic damage to the US seafood business, which has also suffered due to its reliance on restaurant sales. According to scientists, who recently published their findings in the scientific journal Fish and Fisheries, consumer demand for seafood in restaurants declined by more than 70% during the early months of the epidemic.

The study said that imports fell by about 37% in the first nine months and exports by about 43% over 2019. The economic impact has been felt most severely in states that rely heavily on the seafood sector, such as Main, Alaska And LouisianaSaid Easton White, a university Vermont Biologist and lead author of the study.

It’s not doom and gloom for all the industry, because seafood and home cooking have helped businesses during the epidemic season, White said. He said that if the domestic consumers are more interested in fresh seafood then this industry will be in a better position to regenerate after the epidemic.

“Moving to these local markets is something that can actually be helpful for recovery purposes,” White said. “The way forward is to focus on shortening the supply chain a bit.”

The study found that high-value fish halibut catch in Alaska decreased by 40% during June from the previous year. Many American fisheries figures will not be available until next year, but those findings coincide with what many fishermen are watching on the water.

Maine Martishers foreign director Ben Martens said that Monkfish’s mind grip has dried up due to lack of access to foreign markets such as Korea.

“Prices went down so much this year, they couldn’t build a business doing it this year,” Martens said.

The study confirms what members of the seafood industry have heard for months, said Kyle Foley, senior program manager for the Seafood Program at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. Foley, who was not involved in the study, said the findings make it clear that the seafood industry needs more help from the federal government.

The federal government allocated $ 300 million in CARES Act dollars to the seafood industry in May. The same month the government announced $ 16 billion for farmers and livestock farmers.

“It helps make up why more relief is needed, which I think is the biggest concern of our industry in the supply chain in seafood,” said Foley.

The study concludes that “only time will indicate the full extent of COVID-19 on the US fishing and seafood industries.” Gavin Gibbons, spokesman for the National Fisheries Institute in McLean, Virginia, Said the short-term findings reflect the difficulties the industry has experienced this year.

“The closure of restaurant food has had an adverse effect on seafood and the axle for retail sales has not made up for all lost sales,” Gibbons said.

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