A number of UK shellfish aquaculture businesses continued to struggle during the period between July and September, Seafish – the public body set up to support the industry – says in a review on how the seafood sector fared during the high summer months.
The report says those mainly affected were involved in export or serving the high end foodservice sector. Consumers were able to visit pubs and restaurants for the first time until the first lockdown in March.
It also adds that while some aquaculture businesses were confronted with poor demand, others capitalised on direct sales to seem through the period.
Salmon exports were down by 20 per cent in value and 10 per cent in volume between July and September (compared to July-Sept 2019) , and the foodservice sector suffered a 42 per cent drop in seafood orders. The latter figure is still up on earlier in the pandemic when the whole country was locked down.
The review shows that UK seafood enjoyed a brief revival during the period as restrictions eased in Britain and on the continent.
It adds: “Foodservice demand increased as lockdown restrictions continued to ease around the world and schools broke up for the summer.
“Despite this shift in demand, retail and direct sales remained strong. Travel corridors to Europe opened up and exports destined for foodservice on the continent improved in the height of summer.”
Processing businesses that closed or reduced production during the height of lockdown continued to come back on-line throughout the summer. Some of the large shellfish processors were the last to restart operations by early August.
Foodservice demand increased as lockdown restrictions continued to ease around the world and schools broke up for the summer. Despite this shift in demand, retail and direct sales remained strong.
However, uncertainty increased towards the end of August and into September as restrictions returned in the UK (in the wake of a second coronavirus wave) and in key European seafood export nations.
Hazel Curtis, director of corporate relations at Seafish said: “Having weathered the initial impacts of Covid-19 on local and global trade, the people operating the UK seafood supply chain learned to live and work within the ‘new normal’ of a global pandemic over the summer.”