Covid-19 impacts whole seafood supply chain, says Seafish
Seafish has released the first in a series of regular assessments that look at how the global Covid-19 pandemic has affected seafood businesses in the UK from January to June 2020.
Aoife Martin, director of operations at Seafish, said: "There's no doubt that Covid-19 has caused challenges and disruption for our seafood industry. Since the start of the pandemic we've been collating information on how businesses across all sectors have been affected. We've now brought these insights together with the data to give a full picture of impacts across the whole supply chain for the first half of this year."
Key impacts highlighted in the review are:
- Export markets were hit first, as key countries including China, Italy, Spain and France entered lockdown.
- UK foodservice markets collapsed at the end of March as lockdown put a hold on eating out and tourism.
- As businesses along the UK seafood supply chain lost access to their usual markets, new small-scale markets to sell direct to consumers emerged.
- High operating uncertainty led many processing businesses to close or reduce production temporarily as businesses utilised government support schemes and furloughed workers.
- Reduced demand and processor capacity had a direct impact on raw material supply and price.
- UK landings and imports were both considerably lower than in the same period last year.
- Reduced demand was problematic for businesses managing live animals - aquaculture businesses faced short-term difficulties with this.
- Concerns have been raised around the long-term impact of Covid-19 disruptions on multiyear aquaculture production cycles.
The publication of this review is the first in a quarterly reporting process. As different data sets are available at different times, this allows Seafish researchers to analyse a period in the context of the whole industry.
Seafish plans to release the next iteration, with data from July to September 2020, by the end of the year. Future reports will capture findings from Seafish's annual processing survey and fleet survey.
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