When it comes to the business of seafood, COVID-19 hasn’t been nearly as damaging as the ecological havoc caused by humans, a recent global survey of fish farms found. More than 80% of the 585 fish farms surveyed worldwide reported that the economic losses from human-caused issues such as climate change, pollution, and flooding far outweigh losses from supply-chain hiccups or a loss in buyers caused by the pandemic.
The survey findings—highlighted in a report co-authored by Brian Helmuth, professor of marine and environmental science at Northeastern—offer a stark look into the devastating impact global warming is already having on oceans, lakes, and rivers across the planet. “These businesses have to build resilience to these events in their planning, because it’s only going to get worse over time,” says Helmuth. The additional economic losses triggered since the 2020 start of the pandemic should serve as a wake-up call for fish farmers across the world, says Helmuth, because they will face additional hurdles amid an escalating climate crisis.