Here's why seafood prices are soaring this summer
Fishing and seafood sectors are still struggling due to pandemic impacts
After experiencing broad declines last year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the fishing and seafood sectors are still floundering due to the effects of supply chain issues, worker shortages and renewed consumer demand.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Fisheries wrote at the beginning of the year that coronavirus contributed to an "almost immediate" impact on seafood sector sales including lost sales at most aquaculture, aquaponics, and allied businesses and charter fishing operations.
PANDEMIC HAS TAKE A BITE OUT OF SEAFOOD TRADE, CONSUMPTION
Now, chefs and restaurant owners are speaking out on why pandemic woes have led to higher prices for their customers.
According to SeafoodSource, premium items are being taken off menus across the country because the delicacies are too hard or expensive to source.
The publication reported that Beau Rivage executive chef Kristian Wade said that the prices on most items have risen at least 50% in the past quarter.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the wholesale price of finfish and shellfish rose by 18,8% from June of last year and the price of fish and seafood rose 4.5% over the same period.
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Bloomberg reported last week that the cost of certain items had risen dramatically in the past year, and that some restaurants had decided to just saddle customers with the costs.
Labor shortages have been a problem outside of the sector and other industries like hospitality and travel have also seen a surge in interest over the summer following vaccinations.
The New York Post noted that U.S. ports have been overwhelmed without workers and that a shortage of truck drivers and fishermen was hurting restaurants.
Further hits came from environment-related issues like the impact of the West's crushing drought and record-breaking June heat waves or Florida's red tide and large fish kills off the coast of St. Petersburg.
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States that depend on the sector – which had previously generated more than $200 billion in annual sales and supported 1.7 million jobs – are offering millions in economic relief, including Maryland and Massachusetts.