Marine Fisheries and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Interim Survey Data and Analysis

Edward Glazier, Matthew McPherson, Eric Thunberg, Michael Jepson, Lisa Colburn, Manoj Shivlani, Juan Agar, Brent Stoffle, Anthony Mastitski, and Felix Martin
Participants in the nation’s marine fisheries typically must address a variety of operational challenges as they work to harvest, process, and distribute seafood, and provide fishing experiences to American consumers. The arrival and spread of COVID-19 early in 2020 quickly posed a new range of problems and issues, intensifying pre-existing challenges within and across our domestic fleets, firms, and regions. This report draws on a large-scale survey effort administered by NOAA Fisheries economists and anthropologists to specifically examine pandemic impacts among fisheries along the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf of Mexico, and in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Analysis of the resulting data makes clear the dramatic dampening effect of the initial phase of the event on commercial and for-hire fleets and seafood processing and distribution firms around the regions. The survey database and this report may be seen as valid sources of information for better understanding social and economic change associated with the pandemic, and an essential first step for accurately gauging its regional fishery impacts as they manifest in the months and years to come.
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