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Early effects of COVID-19 on US fisheries and seafood consumption


White, ER and Froehlich, HE and Gephart, JA and Cottrell, RS and Branch, TA and Bejarano, RA and Baum, JK, Early effects of COVID-19 on US fisheries and seafood consumption, Fish and Fisheries, 22 pp. 232-239. ISSN 1467-2960 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1111/faf.12525


The US seafood sector is susceptible to shocks, both because of the seasonal nature of many of its domestic fisheries and its global position as a top importer and exporter of seafood. However, many data sets that could inform science and policy during an emerging event do not exist or are only released months or years later. Here, we synthesize multiple data sources from across the seafood supply chain, including unconventional real-time data sets, to show the relative initial responses and indicators of recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic. We synthesized news articles from January to September 2020 that reported effects of COVID-19 on the US seafood sector, including processor closures, shortened fishing seasons and loss of revenue. Concerning production and distribution, we assessed past and present landings and trade data and found substantial declines in fresh seafood catches (−40%), imports (−37%) and exports (−43%) relative to the previous year, while frozen seafood products were generally less affected. Google search trends and seafood market foot traffic data suggest consumer demand for seafood from restaurants dropped by upwards of 70% during lockdowns, with recovery varying by state. However, these declines were partially offset by an increase (270%) in delivery and takeout service searches. Our synthesis of open-access data sets and media reports shows widespread, but heterogeneous, ramifications of COVID-19 across the seafood sector, implying that policymakers should focus support on states and sub-sectors most affected by the pandemic: fishery-dependent communities, processors, and fisheries and aquaculture that focus on fresh products.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:seafood, COVID-19, fisheries, aquaculture, fisheries, pulse disturbance, shocks
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Fisheries sciences not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - aquaculture
Objective Field:Fisheries - aquaculture not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Cottrell, RS (Dr Richard Cottrell)
ID Code:150447
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:42
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2022-06-15
Last Modified:2022-06-15

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