Fish Farmers Struggling
Most of the agriculture industry has seen a spike in demand as consumers stock up on grocery items. The California aquaculture industry, though has been hit hard. Most farmed fish is sold in restaurants which have either closed down or have drastically reduced their volumes. Cooperative Extension Aquaculture Specialist Dr. Jackson Gross explains how this impacts fish producers.
Gross…”All of these things are kind of like impacting the farmer and with the uncertainty, like what do you do? Like have you have all these animals, but you want to make sure you keep moving or you have to depopulate that. What are you going to do with all these animals you have? Sit on them? Do you depopulate? You know, what do you do with your bio mass? You're don't have any processing and you can't filet them or you don't have the appropriate storage for that matter, freezers and storage. So, and then if you don't do that, then you certainly can't spawn your fish to move them in. And if you have too many fish, then you can start running into also disease issues and water quality issues. All these things just start steamrolling. So, it's a challenge. Where are we going?”
Dr. Gross says that in many cases the processing capacity is not available to process and store these fish. Producers have to consider economics, environmental impacts, and animal welfare in figuring out what to do with unsold production.
There are initiatives being started to explore home delivery, but at this point it is not a viable option for most producers.