With COVID-19 having a damaging impact on aquaculture, the market is expected to lose steam before recovering to a projected global market size of US$ 245.1 billion by 2027, according to a recent Research and Markets report
Stringent lockdown measures imposed by governments around the world to control the spread of the pandemic have cast a shadow on food and nutrition security. Global food supply chains are severely disrupted as governments move quickly to implement trade restrictions to protect domestic food supplies, a move that has, and continues to impact countries dependent on food imports.
Fish and aquatic food value chains are currently witnessing a plethora of challenges ranging from shutdowns, changing consumer demands, market access and logistical problems, and transport and border restrictions. As part of the restrictions that adversely affect commercial fishing, which is a major part of the global food system, fishing fleets are tied up.
The closure of restaurants and hotels, which are major buyers of fish and seafood, has had a significant impact on sales. Lower demand, export cuts and higher operating costs are slashing the profit margins of the fishing and seafood companies. Supply chain interruptions caused by disruptions in transport, trade and labour have halted aquaculture operations. Delayed stocking of aquaculture feed and systems threatens to have a major impact on production with rising prices.
The value chain for fish and fish products is labour-intensive, and all of these factors discussed above affect food security and nutrition for populations that rely on fish for animal protein and essential micronutrients. Unless immediate corrective measures and policy changes are made, under the current scenario, seafood will become less affordable to the poor as a critical part of the food security objectives.
China represents the largest market worldwide. Developing countries such as India, Indonesia, and Vietnam are expected to strengthen their position as major contributors to aquaculture production in the coming years, driven by factors such as rising living standards and increased in per capita seafood consumption; the establishment of new fish farms for export production; availability of large government schemes and heavy investments supporting aquaculture and fisheries; growing awareness over fish health, breeding and management; and strict regulations governing ocean catch and a clampdown on destructive fishing and the ensuing increase in investments in aquaculture.