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

White, ER, Froehlich, HE, Gephart, JA, Cottrell, RS ORCID: 0000-0002-6499-7503, Branch, TA, Bejarano, RA and Baum, JK 2020 , 'Early effects of COVID-19 on US fisheries and seafood consumption' , Fish and Fisheries, vol. 22 , pp. 232-239 , doi: 10.1111/faf.12525.

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Abstract

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

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:White, ER and Froehlich, HE and Gephart, JA and Cottrell, RS and Branch, TA and Bejarano, RA and Baum, JK
Keywords: seafood, COVID-19, fisheries, aquaculture, fisheries, pulse disturbance, shocks
Journal or Publication Title: Fish and Fisheries
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN: 1467-2960
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/faf.12525
Copyright Information:

© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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