Impacts of COVID-19 on U.S. Sportfish Farms

Impacts of COVID-19 on U.S. sportfish farms

Quarter 1 Results
March 23, 2020 to April 10, 2020

Characterization of Sportfish Respondents

Quarter 1 survey results showed that there were 25 sportfish farm participants. Fifty-two percent of sportfish respondents sold their fish directly to customers, 24% sold to other, un-categorized channels, 16% to other aquaculture farms, 4% to distributors, and 4% to restaurants (Table 1). No respondents sold to processors or grocery stores/supermarkets.

Sportfish farms vary in terms of their production scale. Respondents to the survey included those with scales of production from sales of $10,001 to $25,000 a year up to those with annual sales greater than $1 million (Table 2). The greatest percentage (32%) of respondents had sales greater than $1 million, followed by $250,001 to $500,000 (16%); $100,001 to $250,000 (12%); $50,001 to $100,000 (8%); $25,001 to $50,000 (8%), and $10,001 to $25,000 (4%). No respondents had sales less than $10,001 or from $500,000 to $1 million. Twenty percent did not respond to this question.

The greatest percentage of sportfish farm respondents (56%) were located in the North Central Aquaculture Region, followed by the Western Aquaculture Region (24%), and the Northeastern Aquaculture Region (20%) (Table 3). There were no sportfish respondents from the Southern or Tropical and Sub-tropical Aquaculture Regions.

Key Findings

Eighty-eight percent of sportfish respondents reported that their farm or business had been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. One respondent indicated that their farm had not been affected by COVID-19 because they only sell and deliver fish to another farm in the winter months. When asked whether their farm or business would survive the next 3 months without external intervention (such as government assistance), 63% said, “yes.” Twenty-nine percent reported that their farm would “maybe” survive 3 months without external assistance, and 8% said that their farm or business would not survive 3 months without external assistance. When asked the same question, but for the next 6 months, 46% said that it would survive, 46% said “maybe,” and 8% said that their farm/business would not survive the next 6 months without external assistance. Responses related to 12 months without external assistance were that 25% indicated that they would not survive, 42% said that their farm or business would “maybe” survive, and only 33% said that they would survive. Those that indicated that they would be able to withstand more than 10 months without sales included two respondents who operated state hatcheries.

Lost Sales

Seventy-five percent of sportfish farm respondents indicated that they had lost sales due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, 10% of sportfish respondents indicated that they had lost sales to international or export markets outside the U.S. In terms of the volume of sales that had been lost, 30% reported losses in the range of $50,001 to $100,000. An additional 10% of respondents reported that they had lost either $100,001 to $250,000, $10,001 to $25,000, or $5,001 to $10,000. Five percent of respondents reported sales losses of either $25,001 to $50,000, $1,001 to $5,000, or $1 to $1,000. No respondents reported losses greater than $250,000. Twenty percent of respondents indicated that they could not estimate the losses at the time the survey was administered.

The lost sales reported included canceled contracts of various sorts. Seventy-three percent of sportfish respondents reported losing private contracts for sales, and 14% reported losing government (state or federal) contracts for sales.

Respondents were further asked what challenges they expected to experience on their farms or businesses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Seventy-nine percent of sportfish respondents indicated that they expected to lose sales, with 11% expecting to lose international markets. In terms of the volume of sales expected to be lost, 26% expected to lose from $100,001 to $250,000, 16% each expected to lose from $50,001 to $100,000, or from $5,001 to $10,000, 11% expected to lose Continued on page 13 from $10,001 to $25,000, and 5% expected to lose from $1,001 to $5,000. Twenty-six percent indicated that they could not estimate the amount of losses at the time of the survey.
When asked how long sportfish respondents thought their farm or business could survive without sales before suffering longer term cash flow effects, 25% said 1 to 3 months, 21% said more than 10 months, 17% said 7 to 10 months, 13% 4 to 6 months, and 8% said less than 1 month. Seventeen percent did not respond. It should be noted that some respondents completed the survey four weeks prior to the preparation of this report.

ustfa-2020-covid-sportfishing (1) ustfa-2020-covid-sportfishing (2)

The full impact reports and fact sheets can be viewed at: https://www.arec.vaes.vt.edu/arec/virginia-seafood/research/Impacts_of_COVID19.html

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