STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — The coronavirus outbreak has effected businesses across the state, including the fishing industry along the shoreline.
A boat carrying 8,000 of squid offloaded product at Gambardella Wholesale Seafood Tuesday morning. This has been a rare sight during the coronavirus outbreak when restaurants have been ordered closed, events have been cancelled, and most of the fishing fleet has been docked.
“A lot of docks aren’t taking product right now…[they] cut back on staffing,” explained David Lund from the F/V Starbrite fishing fleet. “We’re limited on where we can go and prices are down really bad because people aren’t buying fish at restaurants. It’s bad right now for us, yeah.”
Lund says it is hard to stay afloat amid the coronavirus concerns. With restaurants only offering take-out meals, seafood sales have dropped.
Gambardella says it still struggles to stay open. The Starbrite is the first boat to come in this week. The last one was a scallop boat on Thursday.
At Seafood Etc. in the Pawcatuck section of Stonington, the owner of the popular seafood market says the coronavirus crisis is driving down the price of seafood.
“A lot of boats were called in you know get rid of the catch because there’s nowhere to sell it,” said Sharon Clachrie who owns Seafood, Etc. “They had no need for it. You know there’s nothing they could do with it so a lot of boats came in early.”
Some fishermen have gone back out on the water. But the prices of cod, haddock, sea scallops, and lobsters are sinking.
The owner of Seafood Etc. tells News 8, in the last few weeks she has seen a drop in seafood prices. Locally-caught lobster right now is going for $7.99/ pound. Last week that was $9.99/pound.
“They predicted that when it started in China because so many lobsters were exported to China. Now we have an influx of them so you’ll see the prices of them go way down,” said Clachrie. “Doesn’t make the lobstermen very happy though.”
The one saving grace may be the Lenten season. People are still buying fish especially on Fridays, even though fish fry events at local churches have been cancelled due to coronavirus spread concerns.
The bottom line, there are fish in these markets to be bought and the prices are lower.