Covid protective measures that began in March contributed to an “almost immediate” impact on seafood sales.

That’s one finding of a major report on coronavirus impacts just released by NOAA Fisheries that provides insights into the pandemic’s early economic impacts. It covers the seven months from January through July of 2020 and includes both commercial fishing and recreational/charter sectors.

For commercial fishermen the report says the year started strongly with a 3% increase in fish landing revenues; however, they declined each month showing a 19% decrease in March to a 45% decrease by July.

The Covid  impacts also are broken out by U.S. regions.

Seafood Auction

A six-page snapshot for Alaska shows that total landings from January through August 2020 were 15% below 2019 levels, a drop of 695 million pounds from 4.74 billion pounds to 4.03 billion pounds.

The reductions were due to a 71% decline in harvest volume for herring, 45% for salmon, a decline of 18% for halibut, and 29% for Pacific cod compared to 2019 levels.

The combination of lower catches and decreased fish prices from January through August 2020 pushed down the value of Alaska’s catches by 30% from 2019 levels, or a decline of $436 million (from $1.48 billion to $1.04 billion).

For the recreational and sportfishing charter sector, the report said that input from “the field”  suggested fishing was “well below normal levels” throughout Alaska, with some in industry estimating between 30-50% losses for the season.

NOAA Fisheries Chris Oliver said scientists and economists will strive “to prove a more complete picture on impacts to U.S. seafood and the Blue Economy.” He added that it is NOAA’s hope that this initial analysis provides a foundation for people to draw upon as they plan for the future.

Find a link here to the easy to read report titled  Updated Impact Assessment of the COVID-19 Crisis on the U.S. Commercial Seafood and Recreational For-Hire/Charter Industries January-July 2020