Prioritizing Responsible Seafood in Uncertain Times
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought monumental challenges to the seafood industry. The seafood supply chain has dealt with inconsistent access to product, border shutdowns, travel restrictions and reduction in staff sizes leading to limited production rates. These challenges have been coupled with restaurant closures across North America greatly diminishing seafood orders for some suppliers, while some retailers are experiencing a mass increase in seafood demand fueling a boost in sales for suppliers able to meet the demand. Previously accessible lucrative international markets were put beyond reach, while in some cases poorly developed local supply chains struggled to make up the difference during this challenging time.
The long-term economic impacts of the pandemic are yet to be fully realized; however, many businesses in the seafood and food services industry have quickly adapted to new business channels. Suppliers and distributors are shifting from traditional B2B operations to direct B2C channels to fill the gap of reduced restaurant orders and capitalize on increasing interest in consumers cooking seafood at home. Meanwhile, restaurants have developed take-home friendly menus in freeze-able and ready-to-serve formats in response to the drop in dine-in customers.
While prioritizing economic sustainability is vital to ensure to survival, it is also important to prioritize responsibly sourced seafood to ensure access to these resources for generations to come. Sea Pact has teamed up with the Ocean Wise Seafood program to lead a panel exploring the challenges of economic, social and environmental sustainability throughout COVID-19. This panel will highlight sustainable seafood success stories and challenges during the pandemic and demonstrate how proper adaptability aligned with sustainable sourcing can help businesses navigate these uncertain waters and evolve industry approaches post-pandemic.
Sea Pact represents key industry leaders promoting access to sustainable seafood options that have made commitments to supporting research and development to continue to build on sustainable forms of seafood production and harvesting. The Ocean Wise Seafood program is Canada’s leading seafood sustainability program. Ocean Wise Seafood works directly with key actors within the seafood supply chain to make access to sustainable seafood simple and ensure sourcing information is readily available to all partners of this program and the wider public.