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Emerging COVID - 19 impacts, responses, and lessons for building resilience in the seafood system

July 06, 2020

David C. Love, Edward H. Allison, Frank Asche, Ben Belton, Richard eS. Cottrll, Halley E. Froehlich, Jessica A. Gephart, Christina C. Hicks, David C. Little, Elizabeth M. Nussbaumer, Patricia Pinto da Silva, Florence Poulain, Angel Rubio, Joshua S. Stoll, Michael F. Tlusty, Andrew L. Thorne - Lyman, Max Troell, Wenbo Zhang

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns are creating health and economic crises that threaten food and nutrition security. The seafood sector provides important sources of employment and nutrition, especially in low-income countries, and is highly globalized, allowing shocks to propagate internationally. We use a resilience ‘action cycle’ framework to study the first five months of COVID-19-related disruptions, impacts, and responses to the seafood sector. Looking across high- and low-income countries, we find that some supply chains, market segments, companies, small-scale actors and civil society have shown initial signs of greater resilience than others. For example, frozen Ecuadorian shrimp and Chinese tilapia exports were diverted to alternative markets, while live-fresh supply chains were more impacted. COVID-19 has also highlighted the vulnerability of certain groups working in- or dependent on the seafood sector. We discuss early coping and adaptive responses, combined with lessons from past shocks, that could be considered when building resilience in the sector.