COVID-19 Prompts Postponement, Cancellation of Fisheries Meetings
Fishermen's New - March 18, 2020
Concerns over the spread of the coronavirus has prompted postponement or cancellation of fisheries meetings in Alaska, Washington and Oregon, including the 41st staging of ComFish Alaska, an annual trade show and forum for the fishing industry.
Alaska Herring Still Under Study
Daily Sitka Sentinel by Shannon Haugland - March 19, 2020
The Department of Fish and Game is continuing to assess herring stocks in Sitka Sound, despite the notice given by processors that they do not plan on participating this year.
Aaron Dupuis, assistant area management biologist for Fish and Game, said he started daily aerial surveys on Saturday. The Fish and Game research vessel Kestrel arrives on Thursday.
"We'll continue aerial surveys," Dupuis said. "It's business as usual as far as the department's assessment is concerned."
Fish and Game was notified by processors this winter that they don't plan to participate as buyers in the 2020 Sitka Sound sac roe fishery.
Biologists have forecast that 80 percent of this year's run will be 4-year-old herring, small fish with roe below marketable size. Another factor disrupting the market is the COVID-19 pandemic, said Rich Riggs of Silver Bay Seafoods.
Dupuis said the department will continue assessing stocks in the same way as last year.
"The reason we're doing it is to maintain our time series of assessment," he said. "We've been doing the same surveys for years and years. We don't want to interrupt our data."
There was no commercial fishery last year, after Fish and Game was unable to find schools with herring of marketable size for a fishery.
Dupuis said no herring or spawn has been observed since the aerials surveys started Saturday. High concentrations of herring predators were seen between Bieli Rock, Inner Point and Hayward Strait. Numerous whales seen in deeper waters north and west of Bieli Rocks.
"Predator numbers and locations are normal for this time of year." Dupuis said.
Although he has not heard of anyone wanting to fish this year since he spoke to processors, Dupuis said, "The fishery isn't closed. A processor could say we have boats, we have processing capacity, we want to fish,' and we need to be ready for that. The likelihood is extremely low at this point, but strange things happen so we have to be prepared for it."
The next Fish and Game update on the Sitka Sound herring run is expected on Thursday.
Coronavirus to Impact Eating Behaviors Across Multiple Sectors
Urner Barry by Andraia Torsiello - March 18, 2020
According to recent research from Datassential, the coronavirus will impact consumers' eating behaviors across multiple sectors. While it is impossible to predict precisely how the virus will spread, insights can be shared as to how consumers will react.
Restaurants are vulnerable to dramatic traffic declines. Coronavirus has led to nearly 60% of consumers expressing concern about eating out, with one in five "definitely" avoiding doing so. The fear is most significant among parents, urban dwellers, and higher earners. Datassential predicts that if the situation worsens, family dining and kids meals will be the most impacted, particularly for restaurant brands located in city centers. About 20% of those surveyed would definitely avoid eating out, 39% are nervous but still would, and 41% have no concerns whatsoever. However, as many restaurants are switching to take out or delivery only models until further notice, consumers will not have the option to dine in.
When it comes to the perception of safety, food at home wins the battle by a landslide. Relative to coronavirus, just 11% percent of consumers perceive food away from home as safer, while 89% prefer food from the grocery store and prepared at home. Foodservice's true competition at this time is not other restaurants, but consumers' own homes, and operators that can offer responsible and safe solutions should do so to earn consumers' trust.
Additionally, consumers are concerned about contracting the virus from an array of food establishments. This includes cruise ships, arenas, movie theaters, and cafeterias. Consumers are expressing the most concern with cruise ships, as 71% believe being on one would increase their likelihood of catching the virus. Cruise ships are followed by arenas or stadiums at 59%, and movie theaters at 50%.
Based on this data, full-service restaurants need to act. While some consumers may reduce their usage of delivery, take out or drive-thru, those numbers pale in comparison to the 54% that anticipate curbing their trips at full-service restaurants to cook at home. On the flipside, consumers indicate they are most likely to increase their reliance on food prepared at home. This is mostly rooted in logistics, as a trip to a restaurant typically yields to one meal, and a grocery store trip can supply a week or two worth of eating.
In addition to being in crowded areas, consumers are concerned about high-touch points in public. Door handles, soda fountains, and condiment bottles are perceived to be risky. About 78% of respondents feel that touching door handles would increase their chances of catching the virus. This is closely followed by self-serve food at 77%, and public restrooms at 74%.
Consumers also reported that foodservice operators can take steps that would make them feel more comfortable about dining out. Foodservice workers visibly wiping down tables and kiosks regulary would reassure 57% of guests. Also, 46% of consumers would appreciate seeing employees wearing food safety apparel, and 43% would like restaurants to provide disinfectant wipes for all to use. Consumers would like operators and retailers to practice and demonstrate a wide range of sanitary measures, so they can feel safe purchasing a meal during these uncertain times.
Salmon hearings will be conducted via webinar only
Pacific Fishery Management Council - March 17, 2020
Due to public health concerns related to COVID19 the Pacific Fishery Management Council will be conducting the following Salmon hearings via webinar only.
SeaShare Partners with US Wild Alaska Pollock Producers to Donate Two Million Servings of High Protein Seafood to Food Banks in 12 States
SeaShare partners with Feeding America’s national network of food banks to donate two million servings of high-protein seafood to Americans who struggle with hunger in these uncertain times.
Seattle, WA – March 17, 2020: Today, SeaShare, a non-profit dedicated to providing seafood to food banks, announced they have sent over 2 million servings of Wild Alaska Pollock to food banks across the country. Working with the Feeding America network of food banks, SeaShare sent family-sized packages of Wild Alaska Pollock to sixteen food banks in twelve states over the past month.
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