The Regional Workshop on the Study of the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Fisheries Sector of ASEAN-SEAFDEC Member Countries was held online on 24 February 2021 through Zoom application and was officially opened by the Secretary General of SEAFDEC, Ms. Malinee Smithrithee. She welcomed the participants and explained the purpose of the Webinar specifically aimed at reviewing and assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the fisheries and aquaculture sector in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, this Webinar aimed to share information about the main impact of the virus on local, national, regional trade and international food supply chains. Also, direct responses from the private sector to address problems as well as medium-term mitigation of the impacts of several countries. In addition, she highlighted the importance of information and experience to raise awareness and adaptation for future work plans based on the new normal way of life.
Coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020 due to its alarming level of spread and severity. As a result, countries around the world including those in Southeast Asia have taken several steps such as travel bans and business closings to control the spread of the disease. However, such measures have had a drastic impact on people’s livelihoods and food security, social activities, and the economy of countries at various levels and scales. In the fisheries sector, COVID-19 countermeasures have had quite a drastic impact, starting from capture fisheries, aquaculture, transportation, post-harvest processing, and trade in fish and fishery products. These actions also have an impact on fisheries regulation and management, including monitoring , control and supervision of the eradication of illegal fishing in countries in Southeast Asia.
In this regard, SEAFDEC drafted an Impact Assessment Proposal Concept Coronavirus-2019 Pandemic in the Fisheries Sector of ASEAN-SEAFDEC Member Countries, with the aim of sharing information among ASEAN-SEAFDEC Member States about the impact and mitigation of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the fisheries sector. To obtain information from ASEAN-SEAFDEC Member States, SEAFDEC will ask countries to nominate their respective focal persons who will be brought in to provide information based on the study framework and questionnaire developed by SEAFDEC. The output expected from this study, SEAFDEC will produce 1) Report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the fisheries sector of ASEAN-SEAFDEC Member Countries; 2) Analysis for the long term implications for food security and sustainable livelihoods (Fisheries and Aquaculture development: Regional Issues and Policy Responses); and Policy briefs on the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the fisheries sector of ASEAN-SEAFDEC Member States. This study will be carried out and use a budget from the Japanese Trust Fund with the project title “Assistance for Capacity Building Development in the Region to Address International Fisheries-related Issues”. The budget will be allocated to support individual countries to do the work required to collect data in the study framework and questionnaire.