The COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented in modern times, continues to cause major disruption in societies around the world and inflict severe damage on the global economy. Governments have introduced an array of measures intended to slow the spread of the virus, including social isolation directives, limitations on business opening hours and travel restrictions. The fisheries and aquaculture sector, along with the majority of industries, is having to deal with a bleak demand outlook as well as an array of supply challenges.
Fish and fish products are a highly international commodity, with 221 States and territories having some fish trading activity. Fish exports for human consumption, in value terms, are higher than the exports of all other animal proteins combined. This international pattern allows consumers to access species of fish that are caught or farmed in regions far from their point of purchase, and it has introduced new species and products to what were previously only local or regional markets.
Exports of fish and fish products are essential to the economies of many countries and regions and fish products often cross multiple international borders during their journey from production to processing and on to the final consumer. Therefore, for many species frequently traded internationally, the impact of supply disruption shocks, including price volatility, is no longer confined to the country or region in which they occur. In addition, the fisheries and aquaculture sector have some clear singularities in terms of gender inclusion, a strong presence of developing countries as global suppliers and a substantive presence of small-scale fishers in the workforce. Small-scale fishers are also responsible for most of the primary production in developing countries. Women also contribute with an important share of the workforce involved in fish production, and when post-harvest operations data are included, more than half of the workforce are indeed women. The steady increase share of developing countries in the international trade flows, with faster rates of growth compared with developed countries, has been a defining feature of global fish market development.
The webinar intends to provide an overview of how the industry has been affected by the pandemic and some best practices that may mitigate the negatives effects.
FAO GLOBEFISH, EUROFISH, INFOFISH, INFOPESCA, INFOSAMAK and SHOU will organize this virtual event to allow stakeholders to inform about market changes to the fish and aquaculture sectors, and exchange perceptions on the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as brief about implemented mitigation and adaptation measures, opportunities and prospects for recovery and resilience.