March 31, 2020
COVID-19 hits US state's US$2-billion seafood industry
With restaurants across the US shutting their doors due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Louisiana's US$2-billion seafood industry is struggling.
A whopping 80% of shrimp caught in Louisiana is sold to restaurants.
"These are all very small family-owned businesses, and they are very dependent on local sales," Twin Parish Port Commissioner Wendell Verret said.
Larger seafood businesses will also be hurt. As demand for seafood goes down, they will be stuck with too much inventory. When businesses stop buying seafood from fishermen, the effects could be disastrous.
"Once the fishermen are impacted and they cannot continue to fish, they lose their boats. They lose their equipment. They lose their shop, and it's very hard to get back into that business," Verret said.
He says fishermen will be forced to find new trades, and Louisiana will not be able to produce as much seafood as before.
"The capacity to be able to produce this great seafood for Louisiana and other people in the country is going to be lost, and it's going to take quite some time to come back," Verret stated.
That is why the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is asking people to buy seafood caught and produced in Louisiana.
"Seafood is a part of our culture down here, and we're trying to preserve it as much as possible," Verret added.