Fast facts: Coronavirus

What began as a small number of illnesses contracted from a seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, Hubei, the coronavirus is now threatening to be the next global health pandemic, with 76,000 confirmed infected and over 2,200 confirmed dead.

Suspected to be contracted through consumption of wildlife -- animals such as snakes, lizard and others common to China's wholesale markets -- the coronavirus has sparked a countrywide ban on the trade and the shutdown of several cities and logistics hubs.

IntraFish is bringing you quick, live updates on the impacts of the coronavirus on the seafood market in this story. For full coverage of the virus' impact, visit and bookmark this coronavirus topic page.

Have Chinese colleagues who need to catch up on the latest coronavirus updates? IntraFish is also updating a Mandarin-language version of this blog.

You can find it here.

Thursday, Feb. 20, 4:50 GMT

Rabobank: Coronavirus could offer opportunities for international companies

The ongoing coronavirus outbreak continues to impact Chinese consumer spending, but may offer some opportunities for international seafood companies to position themselves as a reliably food-safe supplier, according to Rabobank.

With the looming protein shortage in the country -- exacerbated by a massive coronavirus-related chicken cull (below) -- seafood may be a winner.


Thursday, Feb. 20, 11:50 GMT

GAA provides certification extensions for impacted companies

The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) is granting extensions to Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)-certified processing plants, farms, hatcheries and feed mills in China that are due to be audited for annual re-certification in the near term or are due to submit corrective actions for non-conformances cited during a recent audit.

The extensions are being granted on a case-by-case basis, the GAA said.

BAP-certified facilities with questions about an upcoming audit are encouraged to contact their BAP certification specialist.

"The health and safety of our associates in China and around the world is a priority for the GAA and its Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) third-party certification program," the GAA said Thursday.


Tuesday, Feb. 18, 08:00 GMT

Coronavirus hits South African lobster exports

South Africa's rock lobster exports to China have halted, reported 2OceansVibe, with one fisherman telling the publication, "Our boats are standing still."

Hazel Wickham, a representative of the Cape Lobster Export Association, said orders from China ceased completely on Jan. 24.


Monday, Feb. 17, 07:04 GMT

IntraFish Podcast: Inside the coronavirus effect

IntraFish Editor-in-Chief Drew Cherry, Executive Editor John Fiorillo, Editor Rachel Mutter and Reporter Rachel Sapin discuss coronavirus, the Alaska salmon processing implosion and land-based farming's controversial "dirty little secret".


Monday, Feb. 17, 06:29 GMT

Mowi CEO: Coronavirus impact will soon blow over

The coronavirus is no different to any other global event that has rattled the seafood market and will soon blow over, Mowi CEO Ivan Vindheim said.


Friday, Feb. 14, 08:24 GMT

Thai Union donates King Oscar tuna to Wuhan

Thai Union China donated more than 52,000 cans of King Oscar tuna as humanitarian assistance to the city of Wuhan, which has been heavily impacted by the coronavirus.

The donation was conducted through a local logistics service and an online food delivery operator in China.


Friday, Feb. 14, 04:07 GMT

Mowi shuts down Shanghai salmon processing over coronavirus fears

Norwegian salmon giant Mowi has shut down its Chinese operations and laid off processing staff, CEO Ivan Vindheim told TDN Direkt, with no idea yet as to when things will get back to normal.


Thursday, Feb. 13, 13:59 GMT

Boston seafood show organizers brace for hit on Chinese attendance

Mainland China typically represents 5% of the visitor and exhibitor attendee base and 9% of the exhibit space.

Read the story here


Wednesday, Feb. 12, 13:17 GMT

Coronavirus delays Chinese orders of Ecuadorian shrimp

Trade association chief says not shipping shrimp to China would be "unthinkable" as it takes 45 days to transport product to Chinese ports and would leave Chinese importers with no Ecuadorian shrimp at the end of March.


Tuesday, Feb. 11, 03:32 GMT

Shrimp prices take a blow as coronavirus rumbles on

Global shrimp prices are already feeling the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, suppliers are telling IntraFish.

"China has all of that shrimp inventory for the Chinese New Year and they probably aren't going to need to replace it," one US importer told IntraFish. That would mean, at least in the short term, that there will likely be downward pressure on prices.

"[The coronavirus] couldn’t have happened at a worst time, as importers and distributors were all loaded with expensive inventory ahead of Spring Festival," Peter Redmayne, president of Sea Fare Expositions, organizers of the annual China Seafood & Fishery Exposition," told IntraFish.

Read the story here.


Friday, Feb. 07, 12:36 GMT

Clearwater giving little away on China business impact

After previously reporting no impact on its critical China market from coronavirus, Canadian shellfish giant Clearwater Seafoods is giving little away.

"We are monitoring the coronavirus situation in China closely and are working to determine the near-term impact on our business related to the government’s control measures," Clearwater Vice President of Sustainability and Public Affairs Christine Penney told IntraFish.


Friday, Feb. 07, 00:25 GMT

Are China's online seafood sales immune to coronavirus?

As China's burgeoning foodservice industry flounders in the face of the coronavirus, other channels are grabbing market share in a country where food is not only an essential of everyday life, but a cultural institution.

And while it is still early days to call judgement, arguably the biggest "winner" will be online sales.

"Everybody needs to eat," Rabobank China Consumer Foods Analyst Michelle Huang told IntraFish.

Read the story here.


Thursday, Feb. 06, 18:51 GMT

Coronavirus: Chilean farmed salmon exports to China remain ‘paralyzed’

Chilean salmon exports to China remain halted with no shipments sent for a second consecutive week in the face of the coronavirus global health emergency, Chilean salmon producers trade body SalmonChile told IntraFish.

This has led to a weakening of spot prices and only minimal placing of orders by Chinese buyers, sources are reporting.


Tuesday, Feb. 04, 22:34 GMT

The show must go on in Honolulu

John Cooksey, the executive director of the The World Aquaculture Society, told IntraFish the Aquaculture America 2020 conference set to happen next week in Honolulu is not changing any plans as a result of the coronavirus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the virus is not yet a pandemic, reports CNN.

The last pandemic reported was the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009, which killed hundreds of thousand worldwide.


Tuesday, Feb. 04, 06:00 GMT

Chinese seafood giant reports rising sales

As the coronavirus continues its spread, the Chinese government has extended its country-wide shutdown, telling businesses in China to cease operations until Feb. 10, which extends the current period by another week. However, for some seafood businesses, the outbreak means a rise in sales.

Read the story here.


Monday, Feb. 03, 17:00 GMT

Coronavirus sends shareprices reeling

The share price of China's biggest publicly listed seafood companies plummeted Monday as stock exchanges opened after the extended Chinese New Year break.

Read the story here.


Monday, Feb. 03, 16:00 GMT

US producers on high alert as Chinese New Year comes to an end

Rob Hallion, who is president of Massachusetts-based Crocker & Winsor, which sources frozen tilapia, shrimp, squid and crab meat from China, told IntraFish it has been "extremely difficult" to get any information from China during the outbreak on requests as simple as where a container is located.

While US seafood is not yet feeling a direct impact from the virus, the market is starting to become jittery, he said.

"Some of the bigger companies in our industry are trying to buy every piece of fish they can of of Chinese origin because they believe there are going to be shortages," he said.

Read the rest of the story here.


Monday, Feb. 03, 06:00 GMT

Feed sector braces for impact

Any potential impacts from the coronavirus global health emergency have yet to filter through to the international fishmeal markets, IntraFish has learned.

With authorities controlling logistics in China, workers could return late to processing plants if they are unable to return on time from visiting relatives in other parts of the country.

"What one could expect as a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak is a contraction of the catering business, as people are shunning restaurants in China at the moment," Enrico Bachis, market research director at the Marine Feed Ingredients Organisation (IFFO) told IntraFish.

Read the story here.


Friday, Jan. 31, 17:00 GMT

Boston show organizers 'monitoring events'

Diversified Communications, organizers of the Seafood Expo North America trade show set for March in Boston, said Friday it is working with the appropriate authorities in the city of Boston to monitor events related to the coronavirus pandemic, both in the United States and internationally.

"The current situation has not impacted attendee and exhibitor registration, and we look forward to a successful event," the company said in a statement.

Read the story here.


Friday, Jan. 31, 14:00 GMT

Canadian lobster exports look for temporary new home

Canada is working to figure out what to do with live lobster exports to China following the coronavirus outbreak.

A representative for the Halifax Stanfield International Airport Authority said shipments are temporarily impacted as a result of travel restrictions in place within China connected to the coronavirus, the Tri County Vanguard reported.

The airport said the shutdown could impact two to three weekly cargo flights containing seafood products that normally go out of Halifax Stanfield to the Chinese market.

The coronavirus is also putting the brakes on Nova Scotia lobster sales and shipments to China, which is a crucial market for Nova Scotia lobster exporters, reported the CBC Friday.


Friday, Jan. 31, 11:00 GMT

US issues "do not travel" alert for China, Delta, United to suspend China routes

The US State Department has raised its travel alert to level 4 (the highest) with the message: "Do not travel to China."

The alert was posted following the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring a global health emergency for the coronavirus this week.

"Those currently in China should consider departing using commercial means," the agency said. "The Department of State has requested that all non-essential US government personnel defer travel to China in light of the novel coronavirus."

Starting Feb. 6, Delta will suspend temporarily suspend flights to China through April 30, due to "ongoing concerns related to the coronavirus," ABC News reported.

"Until Feb. 5, flights will continue to operate, in order to ensure that passengers who want to leave China can do so. The final China-bound flight is scheduled to depart Feb. 3," the news site said.


Thursday, Jan. 30, 03:03 GMT

Scotland scrambles to find options

With China being Scotland's third-largest overseas market for salmon, producers fear a dramatic shift of exports in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

"The early indications are that the demand for imports of salmon has slowed as a result of the ongoing health issues in the country, particularly in the restaurant and hotel trade," a spokesperson for Scottish Salmon Producers Organization (SSPO) said.

Read the story here.


Thursday, Jan. 30, 18:03 GMT

Coronavirus declared global health emergency

Coronavirus has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization, as the outbreak continues to spread to countries outside of China, BBC News reports.

This comes amid concern is that the virus could spread to countries with less advanced health care systems.


Thursday, Jan. 30, 19:17 GMT

Chilean producers halt all salmon shipments to China

Chilean salmon producers stopped shipping their products to China this week and are now looking to other markets to offset the effects of the coronavirus outbreak.

Read about how producers are trying to divert products to Brazil and the United States.


Thursday, Jan. 30, 13:21 GMT

Royal Greenland wary of potential coronavirus pandemic impact

The company hasn't felt any major impacts on its business yet, however, it remains wary of any potential setbacks.

Read the story here.


Thursday, Jan. 30, 1:39 GMT

Mowi to escape 'dramatic' impact from market disruptions

Norwegian exporters on Wednesday claimed orders have slowed down due to the outbreak of coronavirus, but there is not too much reason to worry, at least not for large salmon farmers, analysts say.

In line with what exporters report, price changes have mainly been contained to sizes above 5 kilograms.

Read the story here.


Wednesday, Jan. 29, 22:15 GMT

Canadian lobster giant not yet feeling impact

Canadian shellfish giant Clearwater Seafoods is not yet feeling an impact on its business from the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak in China, an executive told IntraFish.

Clearwater's sales to China increased more than 8 percent to $43 million (€39 million) in the third quarter of 2019 compared to the same period the year prior, making it one of the most important single markets for the company.

Read the story here.


Wednesday, Jan. 29, 22:00 GMT

Norway fears for one of its most promising farmed salmon markets

As Chinese health authorities tighten controls on seafood trade in the face of the coronavirus, the impact on exports to China remain unclear -- but already Norwegian salmon producers are feeling the pinch.

Norwegian salmon shipped to China is often fresh and in larger sizes, within the 5 kilogram and above category, for which there are only few other markets, such as Korea or Vietnam.

"You have the European market, but they aren't willing to pay the same prices, which is why I think it will have an impact on the pricing during the week," one exporter said.

Read the story here.


Wednesday, Jan. 29, 20:35 GMT

Exporters fear impact on shrimp imports

All Ecuador and India's shrimp producers can do is hope and pray against the collapse of their key market in China in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

"If importers and distributors can not sell their inventory during Chinese holidays they won’t be able to put in new orders, affecting the market," the head of the Ecuadorian Chamber of Aquaculture Jose Antonio Camposano told IntraFish.

Read the story here.


Wednesday, Jan. 29, 15:13 GMT

National Fisheries Institute: Don't believe the scare stories

The National Fisheries Institute told IntraFish it doesn't yet have an impact on potential trade impact.

"But one of the things we’ve been noting is how important it is for buyers and consumers, ultimately, not to be confused about things they may have read or heard," NFI spokesman Gavin Gibbons said.

"It’s important to understand that the coronavirus is not related to seafood from a health perspective."

Gibbons noted that the outbreak comes during China's New Year celebrations, which naturally affects seafood sales.

China is one of the largest US trading partners, though sales have been disrupted by recent trade battles.


Tuesday, Jan. 28, 19:13 GMT

Norway's farmed salmon sector braces for coronavirus impact

As Chinese health authorities tighten controls on seafood trade in the face of the coronavirus, the impact on exports to China remain unclear -- but already Norwegian salmon producers are feeling the pinch.

Read the story here.


Tuesday, Jan. 28, 01:35 GMT

Coronavirus pandemic impact on Chinese seafood industry 'will be huge'

"The impact on the seafood industry will be huge," one exec told IntraFish referring to the coronavirus outbreak, as he stepped off a plane from Shanghai to Seattle where all his fellow passengers were wearing masks.

Read the story here.


Tuesday, Jan. 27, 18:13 GMT

McDonald's, Starbucks, Ikea and more shut doors on some units

Major retail and foodservice outlets across China are beginning to close their doors, adding further woes to seafood exporters who count them as customers.

McDonald's, Ikea, KFC and Starbucks are among the list of western chains that are shutting down operations as the Chinese government struggles to contain the impact.


Monday, Jan. 27, 09:05 GMT

Coronavirus outbreak halts Tasmanian lobster exports to China

Tasmanian rock lobster exports to China came to a halt as restaurants canceled orders thanks to Chinese citizens being advised to stay indoors as the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus continues.