Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Fishing industry reacts to COROVID-19 - latest update.

From the NFFO:

Dialogue has begun between the NFFO and the Government on how best to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the fishing industry over its duration.

  • The market for fish and shellfish has already been badly affected, with fears of worse to come:
  • An early sector to feel the consequences of the virus is the crab market, which had responded to increasing demand from China and which has now seen a dramatic fall in price, as restrictions bite
  • Inventories of frozen nephrops were approaching capacity before the virus struck and saturation point will inevitably impact on buyers’ behaviours on the 1st hand market
  • Whitefish prices are also softening as buyers face logistical difficulties and travel restrictions triggered by the coronavirus
  • Seasonal fisheries such as cuttlefish are likely to be impacted by restrictions in Italy and France, particularly closures in the restaurant sector
  • There are concerns about how fish processing units will continue to operate if the workforce is impacted directly by the virus, or by efforts to self-isolate
  • Individual judgements on self-isolation will be made by fishermen but the impacts will be felt across whole crews and fishing businesses

In these unique and unprecedented circumstances, individual fishing businesses and producer organisations are taking their own steps to mitigate impacts by arranging shorter trips, staggering and planning landings, reducing quantities landed, in order to avoid flooding the market and triggering a price collapse.


The production of the scientific advice for next year’s quotas has been affected and shorter, more summary advice than that we have become used to will emerge to inform the autumn management decisions – this time with the UK participating for the first time as an independent coastal state.


We are in a highly dynamic situation. As the virus spreads, new impacts are becoming manifest. Evolving regulatory responses and market reactions, mean that it will be necessary to understand exactly what is happening in a rapidly changing situation.

This is the context within which the form and shape of a government support package will be discussed, with a focus on keeping the sector viable during this, temporary but undoubtedly severe shock.

From Luke Pollard, who Plymouth MP has posted this to his fishing constituency:

"Hello - The Coronavirus outbreak is hurting every sector of our economy and I want to know what your thoughts and concerns are when it comes to the impact of Coronavirus. The priority is keeping people safe and well but we also must secure people's livelihoods.

One of the key areas of concern for me as the MP for Plymouth's fishing quarter is the impact Covid-19 is having on fishers. As the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, fishing falls within my portfolio.

There are a thousand jobs in fishing in Plymouth, it really matters to our local economy and our way of life. And I've been raising issues around this since I was elected in 2017.

But now our fishing industry is under threat from the Coronavirus. We're already seeing a huge fall in prices of fish that's landed in Plymouth as export markets collapse and that will have a knock on effect across the entire industry. This matters because as a nation we export the vast majority of fish we catch and we import the vast majority of fish we eat.

We know that most fishing industry is made up of many small businesses as well as some very large ones too. Many people take out a boat mortgage out that's also borrowed against their home, so if there's a problem with the amount fish that's landed and the value of that fish, it can immediately impact on livelihoods and well-being.

I will soon be meeting the Secretary of State responsible for fishing, and I hope to keep in regular contact with him as this national crisis develops. I want to share your views and concerns with him, so I can get the government to act to save our fishing industry.

Please send me an email at luke.pollard.mp@parliament.uk, and put the subject line as 'Fishing Feedback'. Let me know how the coronavirus impacts you, so together we can get the government to take the right action. Over the next few days I'll be looking at other sectors as well."

From IFCA:

In light of yesterdays governmental advice on social distancing Cornwall IFCA will be closing its office to the general public. If you wish to discuss anything, please call us on 07794360221 or contact us by email. enquiries@cornwall-ifca.gov.uk

From The Real Cornish Crab company which processes crab and lobster from its fleet of five crabbers tht are based in Newlyn posted a COROVID-19 update tonight:

realcornishcrab 🔴 COVID 19 UPDATE 🔴

It's still business as usual for us at @realcornishcrab 🦀 Our boats are operating, our factory is processing delicious fresh crab and supplying restaurants up and down the country. Our shop in Long Rock is open to the public to buy hand-picked crab to take home - so if you're struggling to shop at supermarkets, remember that all the smaller shops and suppliers are still here to support you. 💪🏼

To reassure our customers, cafes and restaurants that we supply, below is a run through of our current cleaning systems as well as the extra precautions we are taking to reduce to risk of coronavirus.

🔸We have cleaning schedules for every area of the factory, with checklists completed and signed off every day.

🔸Strict hand washing policies, food safe gloves, hand sanitiser pumps stationed around the factory (this is all general policy and procedure which we have in place at all times). In addition to this everyone is requested to sterilise their hands when coming onto site.

🔸All areas are sterilised and sanitised routinely throughout the day.

🔸All of our delivery drivers carry hand sanitiser in the vans and are being encouraged to have minimum contact when delivering - please excuse them if this appears rude.

🔸We have full council approval and are SALSA approved.

🔸All visitors and staff are asked to complete health questionnaires, these have been recently updated to include #covid-19 symptoms and travel to the affected areas.

🔸All of the boats are being thoroughly cleaned, the skippers and their crews are being kept informed with all the latest updates and are following procedures to keep them safe in the harbour and at sea.

🔸We are now only accepting card payments at the shop to avoid handling cash as this further spreads bacteria.

Until we're informed otherwise, we will continue to keep running business as normal. Please keep supporting your small local businesses and they will continue to support you. Look after each other and stay safe.

Mark and Emma, and the Real Cornish Crab Company team 🦀