44 of 100: Ag and COVID: Q&A: COVID-19 pandemic – impact on fisheries and aquaculture

The Agtech lab has dedicated 2 weeks to bring to you Agriculture challenges anticipated as an impact of COVID 19. Today we look at some of the responses that the development partners are looking to set in place to address possible effects of COVID on fisheries and aquaculture.

Q8: What responses are underway by partners?

At present, countries are primarily focused on policies and economic tools that protect the industry and jobs as well as working to ensure a quick recovery for the sector, with limited attention to long-term consequences. Some countries have disseminated information on recommended safety and hygiene practices at landing sites in local languages to facilitate understanding and uptake.

Within the seafood industry, there is an acceleration of trends already in progress (a shift to Web applications, online services).

Small-scale aquaculture and fish farming operators in areas where fish imports are important may benefit from reduced competition, especially if they can secure retail markets.

Some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are working with local fishers and women fish workers on responsible fisheries value chains by tracking catch and connecting to private households. The same initiatives are also being established with small aquaculture producers to allow for direct sale to private consumers.

In West Africa, regional small-scale fisheries producer organizations have teamed up to launch an electronic survey on COVID-19 impacts on small-scale fisheries.

In Brazil, a research group working with small-scale fisheries communities has set up a COVID-19 observatory. The research network on small-scale fisheries – Too Big To Ignore – has invited its members to share information about small-scale fisheries and COVID-19.

The global small-scale fisheries advocacy group I Collective in Support of Small-Scale Fisheries (ICSF) is featuring daily updates on the impact and initiatives in support of small-scale fisheries in the times of COVID-19.

Q9: What is FAO doing?

FAO’s first objective is to ensure food and nutrition security by supporting and restarting fisheries and aquaculture food supply chains, while focusing on the most vulnerable groups and regions. 

FAO has developed a policy brief on the impacts of COVID-19 on the sector and policy response (

FAO is working with Member Countries, industry representatives and other stakeholders to monitor the situation and provide policy, management and technical advice, as well as technical support to innovate and adapt practices along the supply chain.

FAO is coordinating information and response with our international and regional partners e.g. regional fisheries bodies, intergovernmental economic organizations, research centres and civil society organizations.

FAO will continue to improve its understanding of the virus and assess any potential risks (as new information/knowledge become based on, e.g. international standards, expert opinion, peer-reviewed studies, etc.) to fishery and aquaculture food systems that may arise.

FAO will continue working with WHO to provide food safety guidance based on the latest available information to governments and industry.

FAO has assembled a dedicated COVID-19 Fisheries and Aquaculture Task Force to collect information, assess impacts and needs, develop examples of good practice, disseminate information and assist countries in addressing the impacts of COVID-19 in the sector.

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