There are many challenges facing the seafood sector while the pandemic continues to spread. We hope our research can help inform both short-term and longer-term responses, as well as help guide the learning process to become more resilient to future shocks

Dave Love, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

The Big Fish Series is a seminar series brought to you by the University of Stirling’s, Institute of Aquaculture. The purpose of this series is to highlight seafood’s roles in sustainable food systems. 

Impacts of Covid-19 on Seafood Value Chains is the second seminar in this series, held on the 11th February 2021. This seminar was co-hosted with the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future is working towards a healthy equitable, resilient food system from within the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering of the Bloomberg School of Public Health.  

Seafood plays an important role in our food systems contributing significantly to food and nutrition security and livelihoods. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns are creating health and economic crises, that threaten food and nutrition security. The food system has been seriously disrupted at multiple levels across supply chains. Studying these impacts and vulnerabilities in our food system is essential to build resilience to future shocks. The seafood sector provides important sources of employment and nutrition, especially in low-income countries, and is highly globalized. Seafood is highly traded and is composed of many species and production and distribution strategies providing a model food system to study Covid-19 related shocks and responses in order to rebuild towards a more resilient food system. 

In this seminar we will explore the scope of recent disruptions, impacts and range of responses across the seafood system. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, along with co-authors, have applied a resilience ‘action cycle’ framework to study the first five months of COVID-19-related disruptions, impacts, and responses to the seafood sector. The term resilience here relates to the capacity over time of a food system to provide appropriate and accessible food for all in the face of unforeseen disturbances. The resilience action cycle is informed by the concepts of coping, adaptation and specified versus general resilience and has been applied across high-and low-income countries to find that some supply chains, market segments, companies, small-scale actors and civil society have shown initial signs of greater resilience than others. The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and paper co-authors asked the following questions which they will explore with you during the seminar: 

  1. How has the seafood system been impacted by Covid-19? 
  1. What types of responses have occurred thus far to absorb and react to Covid-19 disruptions and what actions have been taken to restore system functions? 
  1. What lessons from current and past shock events can help to inform actors and institutions as they build resilience to future shocks?  

For example, frozen Ecuadorian shrimp and Chinese tilapia exports were diverted to alternative markets, while live-fresh supply chains were more impacted. COVID-19 has also highlighted the vulnerability of certain groups working in-or dependent on the seafood sector. We will discuss early coping and adaptive responses, combined with lessons from past shocks, that could be considered when building resilience in the sector. 

For further information please see the recently published article entitled Emerging COVID-19 impacts, responses, and lessons for building resilience in the seafood system’ .

Please also see the recent WorldFish report on COVID-19 impacts and adaptations in Asia and Africa’s aquatic food value chains authored by Panelist Ben Belton.

Theme by the University of Stirling