Covid-19 Impacts on Commercial Fishing

January 15, 2021

COVID Test IllustrationIn May, dozens of MTC members were tested for COVID-19 in advance of the spring hake season. You can see news coverage here. As an organization, we continue to work with our members on testing methods, safety training, and other issues specific to the pandemic.

Additionally, several organizations have been conducting surveys to determine the impact of COVID-19 on the commercial fishing industry. Oregon SeaGrant produced a report based on surveying more than 130 harvesters, processors, and retailers on the Oregon Coast. Loss of sales, job losses, and other impacts are all outlined in the report, which can be viewed and downloaded here.

The maritime and natural resources consulting firm Ocean Strategies also surveyed more than 300 harvesters in late 2020 to get a picture on how, many months into the pandemic, the commercial fishing industry on the West Coast was faring. In a press release reporting the completion of their study, Ocean Strategies highlighted these results:

  • 98% of respondents have been impacted by Covid-19
  • 82% of respondents said fishing is their primary source of income
  • 30% indicated the biggest impact of Covid-19 was a reduced number of trips
  • 70% of respondents stopped fishing during 2020; 65 percent stopped for 3 months or less
  • 18% reported being back to 100% of fishing activity compared to the same time in 2019
  • 63% of respondents did not see any change in the number of crew they employed
  • 91% have seen revenues decrease since Jan. 2020, ranging from a decrease of 15-100%
  • Respondents say the single largest impact from Covid-19 are lower dock prices.

To read more about Ocean Strategies and their survey, visit their website at www.oceanstrat.com

NOAA Fisheries has also issued an updated impact assessment of the COVID-19 crisis on the U.S. commercial seafood and recreational charter fishing industries. That document can be viewed and downloaded here.

MTC will continue to monitor the impacts on our members and share any news or guidance on economic resources, health and safety training, and testing options for member vessels.