Just like the stock market, the U.S. seafood industry is defying expectations with strong sales and higher prices despite the loss of an estimated 25% of the food service business and as many as 100,000 restaurants closed long-term or for good

That’s according to market expert John Sackton, founder of SeafoodNews.com, who adds that the trend is predicted to continue for the holidays and the Lenten season.

The biggest surprise, Sackton says, is how much fresh and frozen seafood has migrated to home kitchens with no end in sight.

Canada-based powerhouse High Liner Foods, for example, estimates 500,000 new customers have begun buying seafood at retail in the US since the onset of the Covid virus. One major U.S. supermarket chain reported a 40 percent increase in salmon and shrimp demand and a doubling in snow crab sales.  And in the UK, major seafood brands expect a 20% increase in frozen sales to continue.

Several reasons are cited for the seafood boom – consumers have extra money to spend due to lack of travel or dining out.

For some seafood items, like crab or lobster, eating at home brings a sense of celebration that’s been curtailed by not being able to eat out as much.

And given the global health crisis, consumers also have switched for health reasons, such as boosting their immune system by eating a protein that is packed with omega-3’s.

Seafood supply shortages also have pushed up prices for some favorites. Sackton says most seafood producers have been very cautious about over production. That has produced a scenario of strong demand and supply shortages for a number of seafood favorites.

If the lower supply levels persist, Sackton says, seafood sales will continue to be strong during the second winter of the Covid pandemic, despite a resurgence of the virus.