Fishing industry stocks have declined, with stocks at two of the country’s biggest fish markets down as much as 50% from a year ago, according to a new report.
The trade group the American Fishing and Livestock Council said Thursday that the industry lost $1.8 billion this year as the downturn has been particularly harsh on the industry’s bottom line.
It said that since the recession, fishers have taken more of a hit than ever, which has caused some fishers to quit or reduce their size.
The decline in fish stocks is the biggest in the industry since 2005, when the recession began.
Fishing industry sales plunged 32% in 2016.
“We’re now in the midst of a very severe downturn,” American Fishing & Livestocks Council President and CEO Jim McElwain said Thursday at a press conference.
“Fisheries are going to be hard hit.
The demand for seafood has fallen off a cliff.
We’re seeing a lot of cuts in fish supply, and that’s a concern.
We don’t know what the long-term outlook is for the industry, but the short-term and medium-term, there is no doubt that the fishing industry is in trouble.”
The industry has been under the microscope for several years as the economic downturn has hit hard.
The number of fishing boats has been on the decline, and many have shut down because of the harsh economic conditions.
The American Fishing Alliance has been working with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to improve the fishing season and have fisheries stocked with fish stocks that were up to 80% lower than their previous years.
The group says that the latest fish harvest was a record, with more than 1,000 tons of fish harvested.
“This year was the best for the fishers,” McElwen said.
“But the industry is hurting.
We are seeing a number of fishers quit or cut back on fishing.
The problem is the demand is so great for seafood, and people are just not buying it.”