The Impact of Hurricane Harvey & Irma on the Global Seafood Industry

September 11, 2017

 

          As entire communities recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey & Irma, we take a closer look at how the Global Seafood Industry responds to natural catastrophes like these.
            In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey & Irma, thousands of residents have lost their homes and businesses. As you might imagine, many fishermen and laborers have been directly affected by these events as well. Storms like these greatly impact their livelihoods. Dock, boat, and infrastructure repairs are necessary for many of the fishermen affected.
            Economically, for suppliers and customers, the greatest impact of these events is often felt immediately after the event. Gas prices spike which directly impacts transportation expenses. Infrastructure is destroyed; roads are closed and traffic is hardly navigable. Boats, docks, and entire fisheries are leveled. Production shuts down almost completely; employees have evacuated or are not able to get to work (Miami houses one of the largest receiving houses in the world). Finally, most homes and plants lose power; massive amounts of processed product goes bad.     
            Environmentally, hurricanes destroy entire ecosystems; waves as high as 60 feet dismantle entire coral reefs and rupture the ocean surface. Hurricanes reduce levels of oxygen and create bacteria that is lethal to fish and other sea creatures. Many experts agree that oysters are the most susceptible to these traumatic events. They are close to shore, near the surface, and unable to move out of the way. Additionally, studies show that fresh fish populations dwindle as a result of hurricanes and other similar events. 
            Fortunately for those affected by hurricanes, the government does provide aid and relief through two federal services: the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act (IFA) and Magnuson-Stevens Conservation and Management Act (MSA). Both aid fishermen who have experienced substantial loss, however both funds are extremely limited.
            The long-term impacts of Hurricane Harvey & Irma may not be known for quite some time. What is known right now is that these storms have greatly changed the lives of many. Fishermen and fisheries are only a small percentage of those affected by these storms. Rebuilding homes, fisheries, and entire ecosystems will take years and years, but nothing is impossible. We believe in the resilient group of individuals and families who make up the Global Seafood Industry.

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