Alternative seafood networks during COVID-19: Implications for resilience and sustainability

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Joshua S. Stoll, Hannah L. Harrison, Emily De Sousa, Debra Callaway, Melissa Ann Collier, Kelly Harrell, Buck Jones, Jordyn Kastlunger, Emma Kramer, Steve Kurian


Export-oriented seafood trade faltered during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. In contrast, alternative seafood networks (ASNs) that distribute seafood through local and direct marketing challenges were identified as a “bright spot”. In this paper, we draw on multiple lines of quantitative and qualitative evidence to show that ASNs experienced a temporary pandemic “bump” in both the United States and Canada in the wake of supply chain disruptions and government mandated social protections. We use a systemic resilience framework to analyze the factors that enabled ASNs to be resilient during the pandemic as well as challenges. The contrast between ASNs and the broader seafood system during COVID-19 raises important questions about the role that local and regional food systems may play during crises and highlights the need for functional diversity in supply chains.



Social and Behavioral Sciences


COVID19, Fisheries, food systems, resilience, seafood


Published: 2020-09-14 23:52

Last Updated: 2021-03-13 15:15

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CC-By Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Data and Code Availability Statement:
Google Analytics and Squarespace Analytics data were provided by collaborating ASNs and can be obtained only after establishing a data sharing agreement with each firm.

Conflict of interest statement:
JSS is the co-founder of Local Catch Network and owner of Georgetown Island Oyster Company. DC is a co-owner of the Walking Fish Cooperative. MC is a commercial fisherman and co- owner of West Coast Wild Scallops. KH is Chief Fisheries Officer with Sitka Salmon Shares. BJ is the marketing director for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. JK is a commercial fisherman and co-manager for Tuna Harbor Dockside Market. EK is a commercial fisherman and the co-owner of Straight to the Plate. SK is co-founder and CEO of Wild for Salmon, Inc. AL is a co-founder and CEO of Real Good Fish. SS is the co-founder and CEO of Skipper Otto Community Supported Fishery. TS is a commercial fisherman fishmonger at Wooden Island Wild. AT is the general manager of New Hampshire Community Seafood. TY is the co-founder and director of Fishadelphia Community Seafood Program.