May 21, 2020 - Economy

Seafood industry struggles as coronavirus keeps restaurants closed

Fresh seafood available at the Union Square farmers market during the coronavirus pandemic

Photo: Gotham/Getty Images

The seafood industry continues to struggle due to the coronavirus, even as more Americans are buying fish and shellfish at the grocery store, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The rise in seafood sales at the grocery store isn't enough to offset the economic loss the industry is dealing with. Nearly 70% of seafood sold is eaten at restaurants, which are either closed or are open in a limited capacity.

The state of play: Fishermen are doing what they can to deal with the losses, either by storing what they can in freezers or even destroying some of it. Meanwhile, companies are trying to ensure the virus doesn't spread to its processing plants, as it has in some meatpacking plants.

  • Seafood sales at grocery stores were $1.4 billion for the four weeks ending May 9, a 40% increase from a year ago, according to WSJ.
  • The federal stimulus package allocated $300 million for the seafood industry, but companies are saying it's not enough to help with the economic blow.

Go deeper: How the coronavirus is disrupting the global food supply

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