Bend but don’t break.
To me, this sums up the performance of the seafood sector over the past 12 months since the global pandemic sunk its teeth into the day-to-day lives of billions around the world.
It has been a long year, with plenty of loss and sadness, confusion and anxiety. But it has also been a year marked by resilience and determination, caring and compassion.
And through it all, the seafood sector has performed at an unprecedented level, dealing with challenges never imagined.
The "COVID year" will go down as one of the most extraordinary in the history of the seafood sector, and above all it serves as a reminder that this industry is capable of confronting the most daunting challenges with creativity, urgency and success.
The industry’s response to COVID epitomizes the proverb, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
I have watched in amazement, as have many of you, how the men and women of this industry have upended their daily routines with a deftness and resolve many might not have known even existed within themselves or their companies.
Overnight, companies had to create a new remote-workforce infrastructure. They had to modify the design of their factories and adopt a host of worker-safety practices at great cost, not only to protect employees but to also keep plants running.
In the blink of an eye, the global foodservice sector closed its doors, leaving so many seafood companies wondering what they were to do now with all that seafood that was destined for restaurants, cruise ships and entertainment venues.
They found the answer in retail, and pivoted with cheetah-like speed to supplying supermarkets and other retail outlets with fish and shellfish.
For many, this meant creating entire new lines of skin-pack and other packaged seafood products – all during a raging pandemic when their workforce and factories were operating under extreme stress.
When planes stopped flying and travel came to a halt, seafood companies found ways to get their products to market, and continued to meet with their customers through online meeting rooms. Some say the pandemic has resulted in an amazing new level of interaction between suppliers and buyers, something that is sure to live on after COVID subsides.
Entire new sales channels emerged seemingly overnight, and fishermen and fish farmers kept the product flowing so suppliers could service their new and existing customers. And in so doing, seafood sales soared to never-expected levels in the US and other markets.
You have all seen these amazing changes within your own companies, changes you might have assumed were not possible before March 2020.
If the last year proves anything, it shows the seafood sector is nimble, progressive and up to any challenge the world wants to throw at it.
Let’s hope the worst of the pandemic is behind us, because there is one thing that is for certain: the seafood industry has shown that it might bend, but it won’t break.
Any comments, complaints, retaliatory rants, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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