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Impacts of COVID-19 on U.S. aquaculture, aquaponics, and allied businesses

Overall Summary of Results:

On March 23rd, 2020 Virginia Tech Seafood AREC and The Ohio State University Extension initiated an online survey of the U.S. aquaculture, aquaponics, and allied businesses. This survey was designed to capture and quantify the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the aquaculture, aquaponics, and allied industries. The survey will be distributed at the conclusion of every quarter for 2020, to attempt to capture the evolving impacts of COVID-19 over time. The Quarter 1 survey was open to respondents from March 23rd to April 10th, 2020. A Virginia Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet and an accompanying Appendix summarizing the Quarter 1 survey results have been developed.

Below follows a short summary of key project results based on the survey responses. The survey closed with a total of 652 responses, of which 537 were sufficiently complete to be usable. Based on the 2018 Census of Aquaculture, this represents approximately 18% of all U.S. aquaculture operations.

  • 90% of respondents indicate that they have been impacted by COVID-19.
  • 80% of respondents have had sales orders or contracts from private companies canceled and 9% have had government (state/federal) sales contracts canceled for 2020 because of COVID-19.
  • Sales losses reported ranged from < $1,000 to $5 million.
  • 33% of respondents have had to lay off employees. 26% respondents reported that "they will have to soon". The number of employees laid off ranged from 1-3 (56% of respondents) to more than 20 employees, with one comment that a farm or business has had to lay off 329 employees.
  • 54%  of respondents indicated that they had from 1-3 weeks to make a decision whether to lay off employees, with individual estimates of layoffs in excess of 290 employees for a single aquaculture farm.*
  • Without external intervention (such as governmental assistance), 13% of respondents said that they will not survive the next 3 months and 51% said that "maybe" they will survive the next 3 months. Only 20% said that they would survive 6 months without external assistance (47% said "maybe" they would survive 6 months, and 32% said that they would not survive 6 months without external assistance).

*please note that these responses were recorded between March 23rd and April 10th.

If there are any questions about the research or results please reach out to Jonathan van Senten (jvansenten@vt.edu) or Matthew Smith (smith.11460@osu.edu).

Thank you to those farms and businesses that participated in the study and to all of those who helped distribute the survey link to industry and other stakeholders. 

Species Results:

Catfish Quarter 1 Results / Catfish Detailed Summary

Crustaceans Quarter 1 Results / Crustaceans Detailed Summary

Mollusks Quarter 1 Results / Mollusks Detailed Summary

Ornamentals Quarter 1 Results / Ornamentals Detailed Summary

Sportfish Quarter 1 Results / Sportfish Detailed Summary

Tilapia Quarter 1 Results / Tilapia Detailed Summary / Aquaponics Detailed Summary

Trout (foodfish) Quarter 1 Results / Trout (foodfish) Detailed Summary

Regional Results:

USDA Northeastern Aquaculture Region Quarter 1 Results / USDA Northeastern Aquaculture Region Detailed Summary

USDA North Central Aquaculture Region Quarter 1 Results / USDA North Central Aquaculture Region Detailed Summary

USDA Southern Aquaculture Region Quarter 1 Results / USDA Southern Aquaculture Region Detailed Summary

USDA Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture Region Quarter 1 Results / USDA Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture Region Detailed Summary

USDA Western Aquaculture Region Quarter 1 Results / USDA Western Aquaculture Region Detailed Summary

 

 

Quarter 2 results will be posted here after completion of the Q2 survey and summary reports are available. 

The Q2 survey will be released towards the end of June 2020 at the conclusion of Q2.