Bert Jongerden, general manager of a Maine Portland Exchange auction, said the market for high-end products like scallops and lobster is not much. The exchange typically trades up to 60,000 pounds of seafood per week but has plummeted to less than a third of this level.
To attract more seafood consumers, a group of 19 organizations called The seafood4Heath Action Coalition launched a consumer-oriented campaign called " The United States consumes seafood "to boost consumers' health care by consuming a lot of seafood and thus boosting the US seafood economy.
According to the Washington Post, despite the increase in food shoppers across the United States, the country's seafood industry is still in turmoil. Distribution, processing and fishing has stalled as prices have fallen and customers are also declining. As restaurants - where seafood is often sold at high prices - the closure of many of the country's fishing industry has reported sales fall by 95% and thousands of commercial fishermen are at risk of bankruptcy.
According to Urner Barry data, in 2017 about 68% of the US $ 102.2 billion consumers spent on seafood products for food services. The lack of demand has led to lower prices for many products and even some fishermen stopped fishing. In March 2020, the wholesale price for lobster was 33% lower than the price sold in 2018.
Some seafood producers are trying to sell more products in the retail market to cover losses. Customers are still buying a lot of food at grocery stores and sales are increasing. So, if the 12-week campaign uses media and marketing to encourage more consumers to buy and process seafood at home, this measure could help the fishery.
In addition to this campaign, the fisheries sector is also expecting government support. By the end of March 2020, US seafood companies, including Trident, Pacific Seafoods, High liner, Cargill and Fortune International, submitted proposals to the Government for assistance. The Alliance asks the Federal Government for support of US $ 500 million to buy surplus seafood that can be consumed by shipping abroad or supplying it to local organizations; increase USDA funding to at least US $ 2 billion to support the seafood supply chain and provide US $ 1.5 billion to the Ministry of Commerce to help the fisheries industry avoid disaster.
If specific actions are not taken immediately to protect the fisheries sector, the damage to the fisheries sector is enormous. In addition, the disease also causes permanent damage to the industry's ability to harvest, cultivate, process, and distribute aquatic products.
An aid package approved at the end of March 2020 includes $ 300 million to help the fisheries industry, but it's significantly less than what companies have asked for. The stimulus package will provide cash support to fishermen, processors and others who are facing economic challenges due to Covid-19.