Friday, 17 April 2020 00:24

FAO brief: How COVID-19’s impact on fisheries and aquaculture can be mitigated

FAO Policy Brief COVID 19As with other sectors of the global economy, fisheries and aquaculture are also being affected by the spread of COVID-19. Producers, processors, traders, and consumers are both directly and indirectly feeling the impact of the virus, the consequences of which, particularly for populations that depend heavily on seafood for food security and nutrition, can be severe. FAO has therefore released a brief on how COVID-19 is affecting the fisheries and aquaculture sector and suggested measures to support the different players in the supply chain. Production, for instance, may suffer from the imposition of sanitary measures on board that make fishing difficult, crews may not be able to join their vessels due to travel restrictions, and the necessary supplies of bait or ice may not be available. In addition, demand in some countries has fallen as a result of unfounded perceptions about links between COVID-19 and seafood. Aquaculture production is affected by the closure of markets, the shutdown of the HORECA sector, and restrictions on flights and cargo movements. In the processing sector issues with cross border transport, uncertain supply of raw materials, and market restriction are among the challenges companies must face. COVID-19 is also likely to have an impact on fisheries management and policy as stock assessments, fisheries observer programmes, and science and management meetings may all be postponed or cancelled. Measures to support the different elements in the supply chain extend from expanding government purchases of seafood to maintain demand and prevent a slump in prices to extending credit and microfinance facilities to fish farmers to ensuring smooth passage of goods at ports, rail terminals, and at border crossings. The complete brief is available at http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/ca8637en