The economic, social, and environmental impacts of the pandemic on the seafood industry have been severe and diverse, including: disruptions to shipping and markets; high risk to fisher and seafood worker health and safety due to crowded conditions on board vessels and in processing facilities; increased food insecurity in coastal communities; and decreased fisheries science and enforcement and increased illegal fishing activities.2
A key response in the food industry, including seafood, was continued expansion into direct sales gained tremendous momentum. From initial coping responses consisting of dockside sales, seafood direct-to-consumer (D2C) business models continued to grow in sophistication and diversity. Today, D2C models have been launched by every node in the seafood supply chain and range from small companies servicing local markets to large e-commerce enterprises with national or even international reach.
This report categorizes the different types of D2C models that currently exist within the seafood sector, and evaluates their respective strengths and weaknesses, the enabling conditions important for certain models to thrive, as well as barriers to scale and growth. The goal is to provide insight into how these models may affect the way wild capture seafood is bought and sold around the world, and in particular, the impact this may have on social and environmentally responsible seafood initiatives.