While the mists of the coronavirus are in no way clearing, impacts, both devastating and potentially positive, have started to become slightly more apparent.
Last week, the Chilean salmon industry in particular started to come under some very obvious strain as factory workers in the country began to be brought down by the illness, causing mass quarantines of workers and Cermaq's decision to close two of its plants as well as a tightening lockdown around production hubs. Adding to the coronavirus panic was the mysterious death of one million salmon at one of Chile's farms.
Factory operators in the United States, too, are forseeing possible disaster, with the start of the Bristol Bay salmon season bringing growing concerns and calls for closure. However, Alaska's governor has made it clear he has no plans to close the fishery and left companies trying to navigate the safest course through the season, with Bristol Bay leaders demanding incoming workers are tested for coronavirus and other safety measures are put in place.
The Copper River salmon season is also set to begin in May, but questions surround its preparedness. Overall there seems to be varied reactions to the pandemic. Is the industry doing enough to protect its workers? Editor-in-Chief Drew Cherry has his doubts.
One obvious route to a softened blow for many of America's seafood companies is the stimulus package put in place by the government. But how companies access the $300 million in funds is not quite so easy, as Reporter Rachel Sapin found out.
And it is not just processing and fishing sectors having to rethink plans. Salmon farming giant Cermaq also found its $500 million farming project in eastern Canada in limbo as social distancing measures get in the way of a key hurdle to making the project a reality, although Cooke is being more bullish with a refusal to back down from its $80 million Nova Scotia expansion plans.
In Europe, one of France's leading processors was forced to close its wholesale business and lay off half of its staff, while another French seafood giant ditched financial guidance in light of the crisis and in Asia, India's shrimp industry finally started to feel the delayed effects of the pandemic and the foodservice shut-down in its biggest market as "panic" began to spread through the supply chain.
But it wasn't all doom and gloom. Russia laid out plans for a huge new feed plant that will take it a step closer to a self-sustained aquaculture industry, US trout giant Riverence began a program of help in re-organizing supply chains and this Whole Foods salmon supplier seems to have managed to outsmart the outbreak.
This investor also still sees a reason to invest in high capital land-based salmon farming projects, although Editor Rachel Mutter wonders how long this will last. Afterall, in this new landscape, it is impossible for even experienced experts to predict outcomes.