Survey Results: Covid-19 Impacts on Seafood Distributors | Ocean Strategies

January 28, 2021









In late 2020, Ocean Strategies launched a Covid-19 impact survey to better understand how the global pandemic is impacting seafood distributors in the United States. We specifically focused on large, national distributors serving restaurants and retail throughout the country. The data and insights provided by respondents has been confidentially shared with NOAA as they seek to better understand impacts of COVID-19 on the seafood industry at large.  Here are a few high level data points that emerged:

  • The largest impact to distributors was reduced sales followed by reduced imports and then reduced operations.

  • Operations change: Year over year, distributors are operating at different levels ranging from 50 percent of business activity to 130 percent of business activity.

  • 100% of respondents have been impacted by Covid-19.

  • 100% of respondents work with both wild caught and aquaculture/mariculture products.

  • 100% of respondents had additional PPE expenses and fewer employees due to Covid-19.

  • 75% of respondents have experienced a decrease in revenue.

These insights only begin to tell the story of Covid-19’s impacts on distributors. Other points of interest include distributors managing the devaluation of inventory as well as varying impacts to products sales. For instance some are seeing more impacts to wild seafood sales, while others are seeing more impact to aquaculture.

A wide scope of impacts have rippled throughout the entire supply chain, including the drastically different trends in restaurants and grocery stores, as reported by Bloomberg this week:

“For seafood producers, the increase in sales from households has been a help when many restaurants have shut down, but it hasn’t come close to filling the gap. Revenue at commercial fisheries fell 29% from their five-year average in the January through July period, according to a report by NOAA Fisheries.” 

As we continue to understand and respond to the impacts of Covid-19, Ocean Strategies is committed to providing value to various stakeholders including seafood distributors. It is important to note that Ocean Strategies intended to be high-level and broad for this first survey. We plan to release additional surveys with the input of distributor and other supply chain experts. If you are interested in participating and supporting these future efforts please don’t hesitate to be in touch.

Thank you to the companies who completed this first survey. We look forward to sharing additional insights as NOAA reviews and updates their ongoing analysis in conjunction with other data they gather from seafood sectors around the country. We will continue to share information shedding light on the ongoing impacts of Covid-19 to various segments of the industry.


Additional Reading References

Covid-19 Relief: Top 10 Benefits to Fisheries/Seafood Businesses (Ocean Strategies)
Power of Seafood 2020 (FMI)
Covid-19 and the Seafood Sector (Congressional Research Service)
Early Effects of Covid-19 on US Fisheries and Seafood Consumption (Seafood Source)


Data Confidentiality

When providing this data to NOAA fisheries, no identifiers were provided, and the information is only used to understand the impacts of Covid-19. NOAA will use this information as part of their Covid-19 economic impacts surveys. NOAA uses this data to understand and share updates to both Congress and the public on any and all topics related to Covid-19 including but not limited to economic relief, long-term economic projections and other issues as they relate to the seafood industry.

Ocean Strategies

Ocean Strategies

Ocean Strategies is a versatile public affairs firm specializing in seafood, fisheries and marine resources.

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