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Publication | 4 February 2021

The impact of COVID-19 on fisheries and aquaculture food systems: Possible responses


This FAO report (2021) looks at the impact of the pandemic on fisheries and aquaculture food systems on various aspects (capture fisheries production, aquaculture production, post-harvest, market and trade, vulnerable groups, food and nutrition security), and provides policy recommendations to cope with them.

While fishing and aquaculture and the distribution of their products are considered an essential activity in most countries, the measures adopted to contain the spread of infection caused significant direct and indirect challenges to the sector, as explained below.

The reduction of household demand, also influenced by containment measures (e.g. closure of food services, tourism sites, etc.) affects production, processing and distribution, and causes disruption in international and domestic supply chains, with significant consequences on a sector highly dependent on international trade.

The drop in demand, which in some cases has resulted in reduced prices of fish and fish products, has stopped or reduced activity for many fishing fleets, as their work has become unprofitable. In aquaculture, there is growing evidence that unsold production will result in increasing levels of live fish stocks, creating higher costs for feeding as well as risks of fish mortalities.

Fish supply, consumption and trade revenues are all expected to decline this year.

In terms of food and nutrition security, vulnerable fishing communities are becoming even more vulnerable. This is not only due to reduced consumption of fish caught, but to reduced income from limitations on livelihood activities, further reducing their purchasing power to afford a diverse range of foods to meet their dietary needs.

The impact of COVID-19 on fisheries and aquaculture food systems: Possible responses

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