Scientists looking at the impact of COVID-19 on fishing activity
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the fishing activity around the world. For that reason, during the first week of April, ICES Working Group on SOCIAL indicators (WGSOCIAL) started a discussion on the social impacts of COVID-19 on the fisheries of ICES member countries.
Elena Ojea attended a virtual meeting of WGSOCIAL together with other twenty-four expert scientists from around the world. The working group is coordinated by Drs. Marloes Kraan (Wageningen Marine Research), Amber Himes-Cornell (FAO) and Lisa Colburn (NOAA). During this call, the group shared some preliminary observations on how the current situations is affecting the fishing activity in different countries. In this way, countries that are so far more intensely hit by COVID-19 seem to have a major disruption on the fishing sector. This is the case of Italy and Spain, that are being the most severely affected countries in Europe. Closure of entire fleets, large sectors in the artisanal fisheries and a shift in demand in markets towards lower prices fish is visible in these southern European countries, including Portugal. We also know that in Spain, and particularly in Galicia, the national state of alarm has created some confusion as on how to meet the new health standards on boats and on artisanal fishing. Shellfishers for example need to go through a check point to weight and classify the seafood, and keeping minimum health directions is not guaranteed, therefore many have stop their activity. The fish markets however still operate, although with some adaptive measures such as expanding the operation time to lessen the crowds, among others.
In other European countries as well as in the USA and Canada, fishing activity is beginning to experience impacts or expecting them soon. You can see more details on the press note that ICES published as a follow up of the group meeting here.
CATEGORIES: Collaborations, Elena Ojea, Research